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Cascading Style Sheets

The W3C invented Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) in 1996 to increase the presentational sophistication and the accessibility of websites, and to eliminate the browser-specific markup that threatened to fragment the emerging web. In 1997, some browsers began to support parts of CSS-1, but the standard did not become truly usable until 2001. Today, with standards-compliant browsers dominating the market, there is every reason to use CSS to remove invalid markup from your sites, separate style from content, lighten the bandwidth of your pages, and increase the odds that people and devices will actually be able to access the sites you create.

To help you get started with CSS:

Browser comparisons, charts, references:

  • The CSS Homepage at W3C is the mothership, with links to tutorials, test suites, core styles, authoring tools, the free CSS validator, and of course the official specs.
  • The Sitepoint CSS Reference – an incredibly detailed and complete reference to CSS, not simply listing the various properties and syntax but showing examples, detailing browser compatibility issues and giving best practice guidelines throughout.
  • The CSS-Discuss wiki
  • SelectORacle … turns CSS-2 selectors into English. Confused about what div>h1+*#text a[title~="W3C"][class="external"]:visited:hover means? Wonder no more.

Browser testing and problems:

  • The Adobe CSS Advisor – a community site sharing information about and documenting solutions to browser issues.
  • The Position is Everything website details solutions and shows examples of many common browser related problems.
  • On Having Layout – detailed explanation of the Internet Explorer hasLayout problem.

Help and advice

  • CSS Creator – web based CSS dicussion forum
  • The CSS-Discuss mailing list – don’t forget to search the archives first before asking a question, there is a wealth of knowledge contained there!

Looking for inspiration?

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All of the entries posted in WaSP Buzz express the opinions of their individual authors. They do not necessarily reflect the plans or positions of the Web Standards Project as a group.

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