We visit several different websites every day, and each one has a distinctive look or feel. This is all possible because of CSS. It lets you style your web pages the way you desire. With CSS and HTML together, you can create engaging and appealing websites and web applications.
Before the advent of CSS, web page content was only in the form of plain readable text. So, web pages were not appealing as they are currently. The emergence of CSS has been a game-changer in the web development landscape.
Many people believe that CSS is a programming language. However, technically it is a style sheet language. Instead, it is a style sheet language to style the web pages.
In this tutorial, we shall introduce you to CSS and its other basics.
What is CSS?
CSS is an acronym for Cascading Style Sheet. It is a style sheet language that describes the presentation of documents designed in markup languages, like HTML and XML. To put it simply, CSS specifies how the elements should appear on web pages. It makes web pages designed in markup languages presentable and appealing.
While HTML, a markup language, provides the structure of your web page, CSS provides the look and feel of that web page. In essence, CSS is a language used to present content (created in markup languages) that is to be displayed in browsers. It allows you to control the layout design, font size, font style, text color, spacing between paragraphs, background color, and many other web page aspects.
Using CSS, you either style a single element on a web page, multiple elements of a single web page, or multiple web pages. This is all possible with the help of the different types of CSS. There are three types of CSS , as follows:
- Inline CSS: It lets you style a single HTML element on a web page.
- Internal CSS: With internal CSS, you can style the entire web page, i.e., all the elements of a web page.
- External CSS: You can style your entire web page using external CSS.
Here are some major reasons to use CSS:
- Saves Time: Using external CSS, you can style the entire website in one go, while internal CSS lets you apply a style to all web page elements. Moreover, once you write an external CSS file, you can import it into any other HTML file. So, you can significantly save time.
- Easy Maintenance: If you wish to make a global change in your website, you can tweak the external CSS file, and the changes will reflect on all the web pages of your website.
- Provide a Better Look to Web Pages: CSS comes with a broader spectrum of attributes than HTML, giving your web pages and websites a more appealing look.
- Offline Browsing: Using the offline cache, CSS can store websites locally. This enables us to view websites offline.
- Easy to Read For Search Engines: Since CSS is a clean code technique, search engines find it easier to read CSS’s content.
What is CSS Used For?
Now, let us highlight some significant CSS applications in web development.
1. Effects and Flash Animation
With CSS, placing and handling flash elements on websites becomes pretty easy. In addition, with built-in Flash files, frameworks, and styling sheets in CSS, you can create animations, apply or update effects on web pages, and create amazing movies.
2. Handling Dynamic Web Templates
A dynamic web template is simply a parent copy of a web page based on only HTML. It comprises all elements and design aspects, including layout, text, style, and graphics. You can create dynamic web templates by using CSS frameworks and extensions. These dynamic web templates enable you to insert, edit, and manage dynamic elements of websites, and you can leverage those dynamic elements to style your web pages.
3. Image File Management
Before the advent of CSS, it was quite challenging to edit, update, and style images in different formats, such as png, jpeg, and gif. Now, CSS frameworks come with the capability to edit, format, and update different image formats. In addition, they include features that let you crop your images and create thumbnails and watermarks.
Designing and developing eCommerce platforms is one of the most common uses of CSS these days. Various eCommerce platforms, from small scale to large scale, leverage CSS to make their website presentable and appealing and provide an excellent experience to customers.
5. Website Maintenance
Another primary use of CSS in web development is for maintaining websites. Maintaining your website up-to-date is very crucial, and CSS assists in doing it without any hassle. CSS files make it more convenient to make simple as well as complex changes to a website. Using the external CSS, you can change the look and feel of the entire website easily and quickly just by tweaking the external CSS file.
6. Social Media
Like eCommerce websites, CSS is also used for creating social media platforms. Various popular social media networks, like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, have leveraged CSS to provide their users with websites that look amazing on all kinds of devices. Also, CSS makes it easy to customize the user interface and change the design of websites as per the requirements.
7. Ease of Accessibility
In the matter of easy accessibility, CSS offers out-of-the-box solutions that help you deliver web pages seamlessly that function on a variety of browsers and devices, including a PDA and a voice-enabled browser. Such ease of accessibility CSS provides has a significant impact on the look and feel of websites from both end users and business standpoints.
8. Server-Side and End-User Representation
Providing end-user and server-side support is one of CSS's essential uses. For the purpose of styling the user interface, CSS files can communicate directly with both the client and the server. In doing so, the web representation is effectively optimized.
Benefits of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
Now, we shall walk you through some key advantages of CSS:
Faster Page Loading
When your source code becomes too long, it results in slow speed. With the help of internal CSS for a single HTML document or an external CSS file for the entire website, you can create a website with less code, which, in turn, will result in faster page loading.
CSS speeds up the development of websites and web applications because, with just a single CSS rule, you can style multiple elements at once on a web page or multiple web pages of a website. You do not have to write CSS for a website’s different web pages. Instead, using an external CSS file and importing it into all the web pages of a website does well.
Enhanced User Experience
When your website has everything organized, from layout and text to images and other elements, users definitely get an enriching experience. And this is all possible because of Cascading Style Sheets.
Having your website’s design responsive will help you stay in the competition. But what exactly is responsive web design? A responsive design is one that functions properly and seems attractive on a variety of devices and screen sizes. A website with a responsive design is produced when CSS is used in conjunction with HTML.
Here are some major features of CSS:
- HTML Individual Line Problem: Before, CSS developers had to visit every single line in order to style that particular tag. This was so time-consuming and tedious.
- Save Time: CSS saves a lot of time. We can style all the similar tags of an HTML page by using a single style tag.
- Load page fast: With the introduction of CSS, it replaces the HTML tag individual styling and reduces the number of style attributes associated with each tag. This makes the web load an HTML file much faster.
- Device compatibility: Now, CSS and its frameworks use to style HTML pages. It adjusts the page layout according to the device size.