Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are the modern standard for website presentation. When combined
with a structural markup language like HTML, XHTML, or XML (though not limited to these), Cascading Style Sheets provide Internet browsers with the information that enables them to present all the visual aspects of a web document. Cascading Style Sheets apply things like borders, spacing between paragraphs, headings or images, control of font faces or font colors, background colors and images, textual effects like underlined or strike-through text, layering, positioning, and a number of other presentational effects. CSS controls the presentational aspects of a web page’s design, whereas HTML, XHTML, or XML control the structure of a web page, which means little more than determining that certain text is a heading, other text is a paragraph, still other text is a list of hyperlinks, and so on.
Beginning CSS: Cascading Style Sheets for Web Design covers all the details required to combine CSS with HTML, XHTML, or XML to create rich, aesthetically powerful designs. Throughout the book, I focus on combining CSS with XHTML specifically because XHTML is the standard hailed by Internet standards bodies as the successor to HTML and the present and future of website design.
CSS and XHTML allow a web document to be presented with less code, resulting in a significantly smaller file size and greatly increased maintainability. CSS also enables the presentation of a web document to be centralized, which allows for the look and feel of an entire website to be written and centralized in one or a few simple documents, which makes updating a website a breeze. With only a few simple edits, the look and feel of an entire website can be completely changed. By using modern standards like CSS and XHTML, you can drastically reduce the cost of building and maintaining a website when compared to legacy HTML-only pages. You can also greatly reduce the amount of physical bandwidth and hard disk space required, resulting in immediate long-term benefits for any website.
In this book, I also discuss how to style XML documents with CSS — XML being a more advanced
markup language with multipurpose applications. XML will play an increasingly larger role in the production of XHTML documents in the future. The following sections tell you what Beginning CSS: Cascading Style Sheets for Web Design covers, who this book is intended for, how it is structured, what equipment you need to use it, where you can go if you have a problem or question, and the conventions used in writing it.
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