For most web site owners the fundamentals of web design remain a complicated mystery. Most people prefer to engage the services of a professional web design company such as Deep Space Design to take all the complicated web development work off their hands.
However, if your web site is intended for commercial use, there is no harm in keeping abreast of ongoing developments. One of these is the use of CSS or “cascading style sheets” into web design and the gist of this is discussed below. Originally, HTML was the only internet language available for building web pages. At first HTML only dealt with text and this is what made up early web sites. Images and data arranged in tables came along next and this was incorporated into later versions of HTML. However, there remained certain shortcomings with HTML that meant that it couldn’t be used for the most complex of tasks which users were beginning to come to expect.
HTML was redesigned in order to be able to create better effects in an ad hoc sort of a way. As the number of internet browsers increased, they were using their own specific languages and it was hard for web designers to create pages that could be used by every browser available. The HTML created became ever more distorted in an attempt to make them work on different operating systems and the code created was not really that suitable. Pages took longer and longer to download and web access became a lot slower. One of the other handicaps with HTML was in creating style in text. The way in which the style was applied had to be repeated over and over again and each repeated application had to become part of the code that was loaded onto the browser before it could be read. This meant that a lot of the code used was really redundant or unnecessarily repetitive.
The first version of CSS, CSS1, was released in the mid nineties, but it wasn’t until 2000 that the first major internet browser supported it. It took until 2008 for the majority of internet browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox to accept CSS 2. One of the best features of CSS is the fact that it makes the amount of style coding needed for each page a lot less. Normally, the CSS code can be put onto one file alone and then this file is linked to all of the web pages that are on the web site. This means that a single file of code can control potentially many hundreds of web pages. The main down side of CSS is that it is quite hard for the relative novice to master.
The combined set of rules for creating CSS can be quite complex and end up with rather strange and unintended results. HTML is a lot easier for the amateur to learn to use, while laying out pages using CSS is a lot more complicated and time consuming, despite the results being a lot more efficient.