What Exactly is CSS, and Why Do I Need to Learn It?

An introduction to CSS

In web development, many different programming languages, when used properly, work together to make websites function and display what you see on the computer screen after clicking on a website’s link.

One such language is called CSS.

As one of the main languages used to form what we physically see on the computer screen, CSS is a beginner level web language that is easily learned with a little help.

However, before you jump into taking a CSS course, it is important you understand what CSS is and how it applies to website development.

What is CSS?

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets.

In short, CSS is a web language, or code, used to manage the design and presentation of a website’s pages.

This language makes web pages look the way they look (think fonts, layouts, and colors) and works together with a markup language called HTML (which is the web language that manages the actual content of web pages).

HTML can be thought of as the foundation, or structure of your web content (such as text your write for people to read), while CSS can be thought of the design placed over it.

The Cascading Sheets

CSS consists of three “cascading” style sheets; meaning they work together and inherit properties of each other.

External Style Sheets

When you want multiple pages on your website to have the same properties (e.g. you want the same font used throughout your website), you will rely on the external CSS style sheet.

You will make changes to the CSS code that is in the external CSS style sheet and save your changes. These changes will then appear consistently throughout your website.

This is a helpful method for making website-wide changes without having to modify a lot of the same CSS code on multiple web pages.

Internal Style Sheets

Internal style sheets, on the other hand, are for when you want to customize the look of a single web page.

Again, you will make changes to the CSS code within the internal style sheet; however, these changes will only apply to the specific web page you are working on.

This is nice when you want one web page to look very different from the rest of your website’s web pages.

Inline Style Sheets

Lastly, inline style sheets are reserved for changing one single element on one single web page.

For example, if you want to make one word bold and another word italicized, you would change the CSS code within the inline style sheet and apply it directly to the elements you want to change.

The History of CSS

There have been four main CSS releases since its inception in 1994:

CSS1. Change typeface, text and background colors, text attributes, image and text alignments, margins, borders, and padding.

CSS2. Introduce the concept of media types, support aural style sheets and bidirectional text, enjoy new font properties, and utilize absolute, relative, and fixed element positioning.

CSS3. Use all features CSS2 offers and have access to fancier borders and backgrounds, vertical text, user interaction, multiple column layouts, and speech recognition.

CSS4. Recently released in March of 2017, this newest CSS version most notably introduces a mobile-only style sheet for mobile applications. This is great since the majority of websites are catching on that responsive design and mobile-friendliness are necessary for providing an exceptional user experience to those using laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.

In the end, each CSS version builds upon the previous one, making the customization of your website that much more advanced.

If you are interested in customizing the overall look and feel of your website in terms of visual appeal, you should consider learning how to utilize the power of CSS, because this is where all the minor changes that make your website stand out amongst the competition lie.

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Author: Lindsay Liedke

Lindsay Liedke a freelance writer that enjoys writing about WordPress among many other lifestyle topics. When she is not writing, she can be found spending family time with her son while enjoying a nice hot cup of coffee.

This entry was posted on Monday, November 20th, 2017 at 12:14 am and modified by WebMaster View at 12:15 am. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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