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CSS Explained What Does It Do?

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After HTML, CSS is one of the most widely utilised web languages, incorporating seamlessly with HTML code to handle visual design elegantly and in a way that keeps websites fast loading and easy to maintain and update.

Prior to CSS (which stands for Cascading Style Sheets), HTML was used to set all of the visual elements of a web page. It did so very capably but it also meant that each page of design code was littered with references to font and colour changes in the text and designers often had to hack the code to handle multi-column page layouts or position certain elements in ways HTML was never designed to handle.

Another problem was that if you decided you wanted all the links on your website to be displayed in a different colour, your web designer had to go through every single page and amend every single reference to a link; an onerous task that ultimately cost businesses a lot of money for little benefit.

CSS was designed to provide a solution; it focused on all the visual elements of a web design and was held in a separate file from all the HTML information, so you never get to see CSS surfing the web, but you see its affect everywhere. Each web page of HTML includes a reference telling the computer where to find all the visual information in a CSS file so it can quickly lay everything out. This centralised approach meant that every single link colour of a website could be altered making just one amendment to the master CSS file (or every background colour, every column layout, every background image etc).

This change immediately reduced the costs of ongoing web development and design updates, and it greatly de-cluttered the HTML code enabling everything to load up more quickly for the viewer.

Some of the key features of CSS include;

  • Setting font colours, sizes and styles
  • Organising layouts of columns and images
  • Setting background colours and images

CSS has become a web design staple working hand in hand with HTML ever since, in the hands of a great web designer it offers incredible flexibility to the visual development of even the largest and most complex websites. Unfortunately, in the hands of the less talented, CSS files are often considerably more complicated than the original HTML-only approach would have been!

All of our web designers work using CSS to ensure fast load times and the most simple and cost effective management and development of websites for our clients, and we always aim to keep it as simple and effective as possible.