Basically, CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets which is a language for designate how
documents are presented to users on website.
CSS was first proposed by Håkon Wium Lie on October 10, 1994 and developed in 1997,
as a way for Web developers to define the look and feel of their Web pages. CSS didn’t gain in
popularity until around 2000 when Web browsers began using.
It was intended to allow developers to separate content from design so that HTML could
perform more of the function that it was originally based on – the markup of content, without
worry about the design and layout.
CSS has various levels and profiles. Each level of CSS will be built upon the last,
typically adding new features and typically denoted as CSS 1, CSS 2, CSS 3, and CSS 4. Profiles
are typically a subset of one or more levels of CSS built for a particular device or user interface.
Currently there are profiles for mobile devices, printers, and television sets. Profiles should not
be confused with media types, which were added in CSS 2.
How it works
Style sheets have been used for document design for years. They are the technical specifications
for a layout. Every Web page is affected by at least one style sheet, even if the Web designer
doesn’t apply any styles. This style sheet is the user agent style sheet – the default styles that the
Web browser will use to display a page if no other instructions are provided.
Separation of content from presentation
CSS facilitates publication of content in multiple presentation formats based on nominal
parameters. Nominal parameters include explicit user preferences, different web browsers, the
type of device being used to view the content (a desktop computer or mobile Internet device), the
geographic location of the user and many other variables.
When CSS is used effectively, in terms of inheritance and “cascading,” a global style sheet can
be used to affect and style elements site-wide. If the situation arises that the styling of the
elements should need to be changed or adjusted, these changes can be made by editing rules in
the global style sheet. Before CSS, this sort of maintenance was more difficult, expensive and
With a simple change of one line, a different style sheet can be used for the same page. This has
advantages for accessibility, as well as providing the ability to tailor a page or site to different
target devices Without CSS, web designers must typically lay out their pages with techniques
such as HTML tables that restrain accessibility for vision-impaired users
Why is CSS Important?
Web Designers that don’t use CSS for their design and development of Web sites will be
outdated rapidly; become a thing of the past. CSS is one of the most powerful tools that a Web
designer can learn as with it you can affect the entire mood and tone of a Web site.
Basically,CSS is used to shape Web pages. But there is more to it than that. CSS is used
to style XHTML and XML markup. This means that anywhere you have XML markup
(including XHTML) you can use CSS to define how it will look. In addition, well written style
sheets can be updated quickly and allow sites to change what is prioritized or valued without any
changes to the underlying XHTML.
CSS is also used to define how Web pages should look when viewed in other media than
a Web browser. For example, you can create a print style sheet that will define how the Web
page should print out and another style sheet to display the Web page on a projector for a slide
show. Making use of the CSS power will give you more options and allow you to do more and
more things with your Web sites.
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Source: References from reliable websites and forums.
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