A Primer on CSS3

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For those who are neck-deep in the web design and development industry, CSS3 will be known to them as the best thing since sliced bread. To the rest of us, we may have stumbled across the term, but what’s it all about, how does it work and why does it matter? Let’s start at the beginning:

What is CSS?

CSS simply means cascading style sheets which a mark-up language is used by web developers to describe the site to a browser. CSS3 is nothing more than the third generation, and it brings different styles forward to improve the presentation of the web pages.

What does it offer?

CSS3 has a modular structure which allows for the construction of content-rich pages that require very lightweight coding requirements. The primary task is to allow for clean pages that load fast, but it also allows for better visuals and better user interfaces. CSS3 is the layer on the web site that brings the visitor in quickly so that all the other technologies used in the site can be displayed during the visit. CSS3 also promises the developer desktop page layouts, complete with all the elements of drop shadows, gradients, column layouts and much more.

Where did it come from?

CSS 1, 2 and 3 all fall within the jurisdiction of the W3C, the World Wide Web Consortium. This is the international body that sets the standards for all things, “Internet”; and it has been doing so since 1994.

The original variation was simply known as CHSS, cascading HTML style sheets. The idea was to allow the presentation of web pages that HTML alone could not do.

CSS over the years:

In 1996, CSS first appeared; it supported font, text color and alignments of the various elements of a web page. In 1998, CSS2 came along and added such things as element positioning. In 1999, CSS3 was introduced; it laid the foundation for dividing all the growing features into modules.

The problem with generations 1 and 2 was that they each became too large and complex, therefore, denying rapid evolution and standards update. CSS3 solved that by introducing modules, which allow individual components of cascading style sheets to be updated piece by piece, when demanded.

Today, CSS supports over 40 modules, and designers can now look forward to finally retiring many of the complex tools that they have had to work with over the years.

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