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CSS Fundamentals

Authoring options


From:

CSS Fundamentals

with James Williamson

Video: Authoring options

When authoring your CSS, you have a few options available to you, as to where you can write your styles. In this movie, I want to cover those options and how they're going to impact your overall site. Now basically, styles can be located in one of three different locations. First, you can place styles in their own separate CSS file. This is usually referred to as an external style sheet. Secondly, you can place styles in the head of an existing HTML document. This is usually referred to as an embedded style.

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CSS Fundamentals
3h 14m Beginner Sep 26, 2011 Updated Dec 13, 2011

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This course contains a high-level overview of Cascading Style Sheets, while exploring the basic concepts, terminology, and tools of the language. Beginning with an exploration of CSS syntax, author James Williamson explains how CSS modifies text, borders, backgrounds, and color; demonstrates CSS and HTML integration; and contextualizes the current state of CSS. The course also tours some of the most popular CSS editors and frameworks and lists online tools and resources for further study. This course is for people who want a big-picture overview before taking hands-on courses.

Topics include:
  • Understanding basic selector types
  • Integrating CSS with HTML
  • Examining browser rendering differences
  • Exploring CSS specifications
  • Checking browser support
  • Understanding the box model
  • Adjusting margins and padding
  • Positioning elements
  • Exploring basic layout concepts
  • Understanding media queries
  • Introducing CSS3
  • Using CSS Reset
Subjects:
Web Web Foundations
Software:
CSS
Author:
James Williamson

Authoring options

When authoring your CSS, you have a few options available to you, as to where you can write your styles. In this movie, I want to cover those options and how they're going to impact your overall site. Now basically, styles can be located in one of three different locations. First, you can place styles in their own separate CSS file. This is usually referred to as an external style sheet. Secondly, you can place styles in the head of an existing HTML document. This is usually referred to as an embedded style.

Finally, you can also apply styles directly to an HTML element, which is referred to as an inline style. Let's take a look at each of these styles in a little bit more detail. External style sheets are simply text files with a .css extension. Typically, they'll hold multiple styles that are designed to control an entire site or section of a site. You apply these styles to pages by using a link tag in the head of a document. Using a link tag, you can even specify what type of media you would like to apply the styles to, giving you a way to apply different sets of styles to printers, desktops, and mobile devices.

Using external style sheets is the most efficient way of applying styles across an entire site. Embedded styles only apply to the documents they're found in, which make them inefficient for site-web styling, but perfect for targeted styles that are specific for that page. Inline styles are styles that are added to an element as an HTML attribute. The syntax can be a little cumbersome, as you start with a style attribute and then follow that with a semicolon-separated list of CSS rules.

For the most part, using inline styles are discouraged, as they're inefficient and can be very hard to override or maintain. Editing an inline style requires you to track down the element that the style is applied to and edit the HTML code directly. This can be even more difficult if you are having to update somebody else's code, as there's no way to tell where the styles have been applied without first looking at the code itself. The only place where inline styles are still used extensively is in HTML emails, where older email clients offer weaker CSS support.

For the most part, you'll find almost all of your projects will rely heavily on external CSS files with the occasional embedded style used to override global styles. Regardless of where you place your styles, the most important thing is to have an overall strategy that controls styling side wide, and makes it easy for you to maintain or edit the styles when necessary. This is a little easier to do if you understand how browsers apply styles, and that's something we're going to explore in more detail in our next movie.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about CSS Fundamentals.


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Q: This course was updated on 12/13/2011. Can you tell me what has changed?
A: One movie called "Who is this course for?" was added to provide information on what you can expect to get from the course, depending on your level of familiarity with CSS.
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