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"It's about the whole look" - Web Empress

"Your internet business site must be beautiful and powerful, a strong contender in the swiftly-developing online network."

Benefits of CSS

The web - and specifically the torrent of web pages that have spawned forth from the murky waters of the internet - has a history of coding and browser confusion that makes the average soap opera plot look realistic.

It's doubtful that anyone initially expected the web to become the powerful and almost compulsory form of information and communication that it is - and all forecasts indicate that it's only going to get bigger.

In terms of websites, that means there has been a flurry of code hacks, inventive techniques, and plain old desperation to get sites looking the way the designers wanted them to look.

This is partly because HTML (HyperText Markup Language) was never intended to do all the things it's been doing...

It's also because of a problem with the different types of browser, the different types of computer, and so on. Cross-browser rendering refers to how a webpage will look on a particular browser - and sometimes the results are horrendous. There are well-known differences in the ways in which various browsers interpret code - and it's not unusual for certain code "hacks" to be used in order to get an IE (Internet Explorer) browser "seeing" a page properly - a page that works in every other commonly used brower.

The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) has designed the next generation of markup - XHTML. XHTML is a stricter web language than HTML, compliant with XML standards. The internet's heading towards universal XML compliance, and now is the time for web designers to ensure their pages will be rendered correctly when those new standards are implemented globally.

What's all this have to do with CSS? ... Just everything. Designers are gradually discarding the use of tables as design elements in web pages, and various other design codes used in HTML (the font tag, for instance), are deprecated and won't be supported in future browsers. That means using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to define font styles and other design elements.

It's not just a matter of looking towards the future, though. CSS as a separate stylesheet means that ALL pages within a site can have their design elements changed, simply by editing the stylesheet. Style and content are successfully separated, which means easier changes and updates.

There are fabulous possibilities within CSS for styling elements without resorting to graphics - tabular menus, buttons, colours, borders, text behaviour... and the more that can be designed using code rather than graphics, the smaller the page size.

That isn't all... HTML (or XHTML) is frequently more concise when used in conjunction with CSS. Less code - less loading time. The page size can be reduced by as much as 50% simply by using CSS for the layout rather than tables.

With the html documents having a much higher information-to-code ratio, the content will be assessed as more relevant by search engines such as Google. More information relevance - higher ranking.

Designing with the future in mind and with all web users as potential visitors, designers find CSS enormously valuable for design elements that won't be deprecated, will render information in a useful and adjustable format for the visually impaired, and ensure better presentation at the cost of less code. Businesses or organisations with sites created without these issues in mind need to think about upgrading their site to be web-standard compliant. Now is the right time... CSS is part of the new clean design code standard. It enables fluid, organic content control. It's part of the language, not only of today, but of the future...

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Web Empress
P.O. Box 4292,
Ringwood, VIC  3134
Phone: 0418 328 516
61 3 9879 9150