Introduction to CSS: A Style Sheet Language for Designing Websites

Websites have become a primary source for online business today. And these websites are developed under two powerful languages, which are HTML and CSS.

HTML, a standard mark-up language, is used for structuring the content of a webpage. Headings, images, paragraphs, or in other words, the whole layout is defined under HTML. And to make these webpage elements more presentable, CSS is used.

If I have to use layman terms then, HTML is a structuring language, while CSS is a presentation language.

What is CSS for a Webpage?

CSS, a style sheet language, is used for making these HTML structured documents more visually presentable to the users. Also, one of the main benefits of using CSS is, it enables to separate the structure and presentation aspect of a document. Well, if are confused with this part, then let me breakdown my approach.

To make your website presentable, sometimes you have to play with the color palate. Now, I will present you with two consequences that will help you better understand this jargon.

Consequence 1 – Without CSS- Only a seasoned web designer can know the pain better than anybody. Suppose you want to change the background of a webpage from black (#000000) to yellow (#FFFF00), then CSS will not gain much importance if it is a very small website.

But you have more than 100 web pages, then, how will you tackle this issue. Because it is not feasible to replace the code in every ‘n’ number of sheets which are present.

Consequence 2 – With CSS- Again, same situation, same designer, but the only difference is CSS has come into picture. So what has changed? You may ask. The only answer that can be provided is, body {background: #000000}, this is the code line used in the style sheet of CSS. And the only action to be performed here is to replace the color code to make the required change.

So, now I think if we analyze both of these consequences, we will better understand the importance of CSS in website designing.

What you need to learn about CSS?

Make your websites more expressive to make them more successful. Well, this is the message that one gets if they have a website to maintain. With CSS it has become easier to achieve, and in order to use this language efficiently we need to know few of its terms.

  • Selectors-
    • Selectors, are used if you want to style any particular section or element on each page or only a complete particular page. Selectors perform this action precisely by selecting the attribute values of the object such as id or class. Also, if we are aiming for a particular type of an element then p tag or h1 tag will be selected.
    • The selectors are represented with a target followed by curly brackets.
    • h1 {………}
    • Through selectors, it is a breeze to vary the position, color and size of the particular target.
  • Properties-
    • Once you have selected an element, the characteristics of that element are easily altered through this CSS comment.
    • h1 {
    • Background: ……;
    • Font-size: ………………;
    • }
    • As we can see, the properties are defined after the selector and within the curly brackets and a colon. Through using this CSS comment, font-size, height, color, as well as background can be easily varied.
  • Values-
    • Under this CSS comment, the nature of property will be defined. That is, if we have selected the width as the property, then a particular value is to be specified for that. Or if it is a background, then a definite color is to be mentioned.
    • The values assigned to properties are to be placed between a colon and semi-colon.
    • h1 {
    • Background: Green;
    • Font-size: 25px;
    • }

The Bottom Line

To go with today’s modern web browsers, lighter code-structure is required, which CSS will definitely provide. Also, web designers tend to have a greater privilege as they can deal with very less number of errors. With final words I can tell that websites with simple code structure will have a faster loading time. And this feature can effectively bring in better search engine rankings that ensure higher visibility for the websites.