What is CSS?
CSS stands for "Cascading Style Sheets" and is used to separate content from presentation in web pages. A style sheet would contain all aspects of presentation—font sizes, margins, list decorations, spacing between lines of text, alignment of text—while the HTML or XHTML file would contain only the content and the tags that identify that content (paragraph tags, div tags, etc.).
Style sheets can also be used to define the layout of a page, and are increasingly used to replace table-based layouts. Many consider style sheet layouts to be easier to maintain and update than table-based layouts.
Resources for Learning
- W3C's Learning CSS
- The World Wide Web Consortium (the creators and maintainers of the CSS specifications) has a list of websites useful in learning CSS.
- Westciv's Complete CSS Guide
- This guide assumes a good working knowledge of HTML (either from coding by hand or in using an application such as FrontPage or Dreamweaver).
- W3School's CSS Tutorial
- This is a well-segmented guide to the different aspects of CSS.
- From Table Hacks to CSS Layout: A Web Designer's Journey
- A List Apart is an online 'zine that contains numerous articles relating to aspects of web design. This particular article details the migration from a table-based layout to a CSS layout.
- Zen Garden
- A demonstration of some layouts and styles that can be created with CSS rather than tables. Includes links to the CSS files of each design.
- CSS Layout Techniques: for Fun and Profit
- Although old, this page contains several standard layout styles and demonstrates the CSS used to create them. There are also links to other CSS layout sites.
- The Noodle Incident
- In his Box Lessons, Owen Briggs identifies, isolates, and works around browser differences in using CSS2 to layout pages. Brigg's site would be best for those already familiar with CSS who want to be able to do a few tricks, like centered boxes.