Chapter 1. Introducing Cascading Style Sheets

Cascading style sheets is a language intended to simplify website design and development. Put simply, CSS handles the look and feel of a web page. With CSS, you can control the color of text, the style of fonts, the spacing between paragraphs, how columns are sized and laid out, what background images or colors are used, as well as a variety of other visual effects.

CSS was created in language that is easy to learn and understand, but it provides powerful control over the presentation of a document. Most commonly, CSS is combined with the markup languages HTML or XHTML. These markup languages contain the actual text you see in a web page—the hyperlinks, paragraphs, headings, lists, and tables—and are the glue of a web document. They contain the web page's data, as well as the CSS document that contains information about what the web page should look like, and JavaScript, which is another language that provides dynamic and interactive functionality.

HTML and XHTML are very similar languages. In fact, for the majority of documents today, they are pretty much identical, although XHTML has some strict requirements about the type of syntax used. I discuss the differences between these two languages in detail in Chapter 2, and I also provide a few simple examples of what each language looks like and how CSS comes together with the language to create a web page. In this chapter, however, I discuss the following:

  • The W3C, an organization that plans ...

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