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What is CSS?

From: CSS Web Site Design

Video: What is CSS?

Before you start out it's probably worth asking what is CSS and sort of by implication why would someone use it? CSS, cascading style sheets, is effectively the clothing that you put on a webpage or other document. But we most typically see CSS used on webpages and this is everything you see here in our Javacotea design, the fonts, the colors, the way it's laid out, the separation of elements from one to another. That's all a set of clothes that we've put on this page, but underneath those clothes, underneath that presentation there're still these. There's the raw sort of body, the naked page if you will and underneath that is the structural skeleton that makes it go, the divs and paragraphs and all the XHTML. That's like the skeleton that creates the document body onto which you can put a set of clothes. In the same way that you can change your presentation simply by changing an outfit, you can change the way a page is presented by changing its outfit, its CSS.

What is CSS?

Before you start out it's probably worth asking what is CSS and sort of by implication why would someone use it? CSS, cascading style sheets, is effectively the clothing that you put on a webpage or other document. But we most typically see CSS used on webpages and this is everything you see here in our Javacotea design, the fonts, the colors, the way it's laid out, the separation of elements from one to another. That's all a set of clothes that we've put on this page, but underneath those clothes, underneath that presentation there're still these. There's the raw sort of body, the naked page if you will and underneath that is the structural skeleton that makes it go, the divs and paragraphs and all the XHTML. That's like the skeleton that creates the document body onto which you can put a set of clothes. In the same way that you can change your presentation simply by changing an outfit, you can change the way a page is presented by changing its outfit, its CSS.

Here's another site and this is this site without its CSS, the just sort of the raw naked page and then we add some CSS and this is what this page looks like, just as a result of some cascading style sheets. Here's a site called CSSBEAUTY, same situation. It's a very plain looking page of course, I mean these pages all look very plain before you start styling them, so you can see there are lists and there are images and there's content and links and then when we turn the CSS on, it looks like this. So this is, you know, again the same way that you can go from wearing sweatpants and a T-shirt to putting on elegant evening wear and then change the presentation of yourself, change the way that you look, you can do the same thing with a webpage. So naked page, dressed page.

You can take this a little bit further. In fact, for a while it was all the rage to have what is called style switchers and this is the website of Jeremy Keith adactio.comp, who has a number of themes for his website. It's the same document. All I'm doing is I'm changing through the little mechanism he's provided, which style sheet is being applied to the page and so incredibly different results.

Based on what style sheet we're using, here's his take on a sort of old-school Jeffrey Zeldman Web design. The, this is sort of a take off on web design that Jeff Zeldman had oh, back in around 2000 or so. At any rate this as I say we're just changing the clothes that go on the page, but we're not changing its body and that's one of the advantages of CSS. For example, here's my personal website meyerweb.comp.

I'm looking at this over the network right now and what I'm going to do is I'm going to change the style sheet that drives meyerweb. So that you can see that, and not only can I change the way that the page looks I can change the way the entire site looks because every page on my website as is generally the case with any site that uses CSS, every page is pointing to a style sheet. And so if I want to change the way the entire site looks I can go to that style sheet and edit just that.

So actually have the change set up and ready to go and all I need to do here is hit save to save over the network. And then when I hit Reload, notice that the entire page flipped around basically. I have my sidebar on the left side now and my posts in my weblog, the meta information is now over here on the right side whereas before it was on the left and the meyerweb.comp link up here changed and I can go surfing around through meyerweb, just pretty much picking any path that I feel like and what I'm going to find is that everything's been switched around. Now if I decide I don't like that I can undo my change, save again, hit Reload and everything's back to the way that it was. So if I, see if I back up, this page will still be caught in the cache so I would have to keep hitting reload if I wanted those pages to be fixed, the ones in my history, but if I click back then they'll fix themselves and so this is now back to the way that it was before I made the change. The sidebar is now over on the right side and the meta information for my weblog post is over here on the left and the little meyerweb.comp is back here in the lower left-hand corner like it usually is. And that, I could've taken an hour to go through every single page on my website basically and whatever changes I make in the style sheet, that's what happens to all the pages here, because all these pages are pointing to that style sheet. So that's another huge advantage of CSS. Not only is it a set of clothes for one page, but it's a set of clothes for all of the pages that are on a given site, because they all point to that single style sheet.

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This video is part of

Image for CSS Web Site Design
CSS Web Site Design

73 video lessons · 61073 viewers

Eric Meyer
Author

 
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  1. 14m 34s
    1. Welcome
      28s
    2. What is CSS?
      5m 34s
    3. Design tour
      2m 38s
    4. Using the exercise files
      1m 20s
    5. Installing the Web Developer toolbar
      4m 34s
  2. 25m 56s
    1. XHTML essentials
      3m 55s
    2. CSS essentials
      5m 17s
    3. Embedded style sheets
      2m 20s
    4. Linking a style sheet
      2m 19s
    5. Linking to multiple style sheets
      2m 20s
    6. Using linked and embedded style sheets together
      4m 21s
    7. Using imported style sheets
      5m 24s
  3. 57m 48s
    1. ID selector essentials
      6m 38s
    2. Class selector essentials
      4m 9s
    3. Best practices for classes
      4m 52s
    4. Grouped selection
      4m 2s
    5. Descendant selectors
      6m 44s
    6. The sources of style
      6m 38s
    7. Specificity
      8m 21s
    8. Making things important
      4m 32s
    9. Inheritance essentials
      5m 12s
    10. Making things really unstyled
      4m 2s
    11. User style sheets
      2m 38s
  4. 39m 3s
    1. Box model essentials
      7m 35s
    2. Simple floating
      5m 3s
    3. Using float for layout
      5m 5s
    4. Fixing column drop
      5m 35s
    5. Clearing essentials
      4m 20s
    6. Float containment
      6m 35s
    7. Creating a navbar from a list
      4m 50s
  5. 38m 3s
    1. Coloring text
      4m 13s
    2. Defining color in CSS
      8m 12s
    3. Coloring backgrounds
      6m 35s
    4. Applying background images
      4m 19s
    5. Manipulating the direction of background images
      2m 52s
    6. Positioning backgrounds
      7m 23s
    7. Background shorthand
      4m 29s
  6. 58m 28s
    1. Altering line height
      7m 32s
    2. Font style and weight
      5m 45s
    3. Sizing fonts
      9m 59s
    4. Using font families
      10m 38s
    5. Font shorthand
      6m 5s
    6. Justifying text
      4m 56s
    7. Vertically aligning text
      4m 22s
    8. Transforming text
      3m 49s
    9. Text decoration
      5m 22s
  7. 44m 40s
    1. Margin essentials
      14m 21s
    2. Adding borders
      6m 52s
    3. Padding
      9m 17s
    4. Using negative margins
      7m 19s
    5. Margin collapsing
      6m 51s
  8. 20m 38s
    1. Styling tables and captions
      5m 23s
    2. Styling table cells
      6m 30s
    3. Styling a column with classes
      4m 51s
    4. Styling links inside table cells
      3m 54s
  9. 30m 40s
    1. Styling for specific mediums
      4m 3s
    2. Creating a print style sheet
      6m 35s
    3. Hiding layout for print
      4m 11s
    4. Styling for print
      6m 34s
    5. Complex styling for print
      4m 37s
    6. Creating a footer
      4m 40s
  10. 37m 23s
    1. Getting started
      1m 11s
    2. Setting global styles
      4m 4s
    3. Defining masthead and navbar colors
      3m 27s
    4. Layout of the navlink bar
      3m 38s
    5. Using columns
      4m 49s
    6. Setting content styles
      1m 53s
    7. Creating the sidebar boxes
      5m 42s
    8. Creating the sidebar form
      3m 23s
    9. Completing the sidebar
      3m 29s
    10. Making a table
      3m 12s
    11. Creating a footer
      2m 35s
  11. 1m 28s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 28s

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