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A 'Short' Tutorial on CSS

The wonders of CSS

Cascading Style Sheets (or CSS in net-speak) isn't a new technology, but it has recently begun to come into its own in the web developer community. CSS is a means to separate your formatting from your content.

This allows you to make site-wide changes to the look of your pages, by changing just one file.

In this article, we're going to take a quick look at the history of CSS, information regarding browser support (or lack thereof), and then we'll move into a quick tutorial, and get our hands dirty.

The Making of a Standard

Cascading Styles Sheets are currently a recommendation from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the driving force behind web standardization. The CSS1 specification became a recommendation in December 1996 (ages ago in Internet time). The CSS2 Specification was recommended in May 1998, which built on CSS1, and added support for media-specific style sheets (e.g., printers and aural devices), downloadable fonts, element positioning and tables.

The W3C is currently working on the specs for CSS3. The amazing thing about the history of CSS, is the fact that it's been around for 4 years, and is still not fully supported by all browsers.

The major browser makers are slowly but surely working up to this standard. The Netscape Navigator 6 FAQ boasts full support of CSS1, and partial support is expected for CSS2, and "has already been built into Gecko, including support for CSS2 positioning, but no specific level of support has been committed for the first release".

Internet Explorer 5 has been the closest thing to a CSS compliant browser for quite a while, outdoing NN 4.7 by leaps and bounds. But with the release of NN 6, I think IE is going to be left behind. A snippet from their IE 5.5 page states, "Support for the W3C CSS1 standard has been significantly improved in Internet Explorer 5.5 and now includes support for features such as borders, margins, and padding on inline elements, dotted and dashed border styles, first-letter and first-line pseudo-elements, etc. " I think it's important to take notice of the key words "significantly improved," versus NN 6's "full support." Hopefully, Microsoft will wake up, and listen to the developer community, and give full support for the W3C recommendations.

For a full list of what is and isn't supported, visit the "mother of all CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) charts" at WebReview.

If you're as interested in web standards as I am, please visit the Web Standards Project, and add your voice to the cacophony.

Time for me to step off my soapbox, roll up our sleeves, and learn a little CSS.

::This page last modified 8/13/2013 at 09:37::

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