When a novice webmaster starts to work with websites, he/she may ask a lot of questions. Should I create HTML-based websites? Do cms-based websites work in a more user-friendly way? What is CSS and what functions does it perform? The questions are numerical in number. In this article I will try to explain what advantages using of CSS gives over the rest of known design technologies.
CSS stands for cascading style sheets. A CSS file can contain all the information about the entire website: positioning, layout, font, colors and style information. CSS is a language that separates the content of an html document from the style and layout of that document. Why is it useful? There are a number of reasons for that:
It’s easy to make changes to the style of a document. If you’d decided to move a picture, let’s say, to the right by 10 pixels, it would become a real nightmare to do that in a table based design. Working with such designs, a designer would have to open each page and change the width of it manually. But if you use CSS, all you have to do is to open your CSS file that stores the information about your website and make changes to the number that’s related to the position of the image. Basically, you can change the entire look of the site by altering the CSS file. These options of CSS files make them really indispensable, especially when we talk about big websites with multiple web pages.
Another useful feature of CSS that web designers appreciate a lot is that all layout and style information is removed from HTML. As a result, the html page size becomes very much smaller. CSS file is downloaded by a browser only once and re-used for different pages on a site. This all significantly reduces both, the download time and server requirements.
Talking in terms of search engine optimization, search engines usually consider the content in the start of the html code as more important when compared to the text towards the end of the content. Hence, with a CSS driven web page, a designer can move the navigation to the bottom of the code so that search engines can display your content.
Visitors who use screen readers to view a web page would appreciate CSS web pages that can be separated from the style and the content. It’s way easier for them to interpret a page. Another advantage of using CSS is an ability to provide a website with consistency. Position and layout of the site can be consistent throughout the entire website.
As a disadvantage of CSS I would mention its noncompliance with early versions of Internet Explorer and Netscape. Unfortunately, it still doesn’t work consistently in different web browsers. But to be fair, I’m sure that from now it’s going to become only more and more popular.
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