Talk to a website developer about CSS and your reaction might be something like, “Why are you so euphoric, and where can I get some of that stuff?” Web designers liken CSS to the next coming, or at least the best thing that’s happened since Al Gore invented the Internet. Since I tend to agree, let me tell you why.
What is CSS?
Cascading Style Sheets is a standard method for formatting (putting style to) HTML documents. In the beginning days of HTML (the language in which Internet documents are written, or marked-up) tags were used to mark a certain piece of text to be bolded or italicized, or to specify what font face or size in which to display the text. One used tags to mark up the text to define style.
There was one major problem with that method- repetition of tags both within a single file and site-wide across all files. The ramifications of repetition are several:
- documents quickly got cluttered with tags
- style changes were laborious and time-consuming
- file (i.e., site) sizes mushroomed
- download times increased
CSS allows style tags to be indexed within it’s own dedicated file(s) and the style is then referenced whenever needed throughout either a single HTML file or across many or even all HTML files across the site.
Some organizations are including more of their users by opening up access to alternative display devices such as PDAs or speech readers for the blind. Without CSS, one would need to duplicate each page in the site for each alternative device.
To multi-purpose with CSS, only the style sheet(s) are duplicated; that is a very minute portion of a medium-sized site. The correct style sheet is then served depending on the device from which the page request originated.
What’s the Cost?
Obviously it makes a huge improvement on the positive acceptance by the users of your site, so what’s the damage? In fact, CSS is a language and therefore comes without any added cost. The time it takes for a designer to build a custom site using CSS is no more, and usually less than putting style directly into the HTML file. If any change needs to be made, even in the shade of a color or size of a font, CSS is many times quicker to modify.
If you’d like to discuss in more detail about how CSS can improve your web site efficiency, contact
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Benefits of using CSS
- Faster loading of the web page to your browser
- Faster displaying (rendering) of the web page by your browser
- CSS files can be selected dynamically for multi-purposing
- Faster updating of site files
- Supported by modern versions of major browsers
- More organized, understandable code
- Style definitions consolidated for easy understanding
- Style is only interpreted once by your browser
- Fewer mistakes made in maintenance; quicker corrections