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What is CSS? History of CSS

written by: Robin L.•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 10/16/2009

Learn the history behind CSS and find out how it can help you design a better web site.

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    Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS, was created to give web designers more aesthetic control over the web sites they were creating. As with all programs, CSS is constantly developing and evolving to meet the changing needs of designers. While it has a number of functions some of the most commonly used are the ability to define the fonts, colors, and layout of a web page.

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    Development History

    Websites were initially written primarily with HTML. As the scope of web pages grew the HTML coding that developed became more complex and less user friendly. To address this people began looking for a new way to present information online.

    The first version of CSS was created as a collaboration between Hakon Wium Lie and Bert Bos to complement the content function of HTML. In the first part of 1997 CSS became official. CSS level 2 was rolled out towards the end of 1997. CSS level 3 has been in production since 1998.

    CSS started to become popular in 2000 with Internet browsers looking for more style in the web sites they were visiting. While web site owners, and developers, still had to be mindful of content they now also had to begin making their websites visually appealing as well.

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    Why is CSS Useful?

    CSS allows website designers to truly customize a web site and to do it easily. CSS allows the web site designer to more easily control all aspects of presentation and reduces the amount of bandwidth needed for, and size of, a web site.

    CSS requires only one style sheet instructing the print parameters of a page instead of having to code each page individually.

    Using CSS allows website owners to use the content of their site more easily as the HTML coding that would be needed to create the visual aspects of the page. This is useful for programs that translate text into speech or for putting the content into a feed.

    CSS has many different functions and is one of the most useful and important tools in a web designers toolbox.