A while back a potential client asked me, “Why should I use CSS?” I realized at that moment that while those of us who work with HTML and CSS on a daily basis are intimately familiar with the benefits, many are not. If you are one of those not aware of the full benefits of CSS this article will help you understand why so many people are switching to CSS.
I will begin with the traditional method of web design and then explore a new method that many developers are now using due to the vastly changing web world. Feel free to sit back, relax and take notes as we explore the wide world of CSS.
First, let’s look at the history of CSS (Cascade Style Sheets). The governing body of the Web, W3C, recommended CSS in December 1996, with CSS Level 1 specification. CSS Level 1 described attributes for use in HTML pages. These attributes replaced the traditional font tag along with other “styles” such as borders and colors. In May 1998, W3C introduced CSS Level 2, adding additional capabilities to level 1, including positioning attributes. These attributes replaced the widespread incorrect usage of the table tag to design web page elements. The most recent version of CSS is 2.1 removes some of the attributes that previously had limited usage and adds refinement to others.
Problems with the Traditional Table Layout and CSS Responses:
Making simple changes such as moving images, changing navigation, or switching colors can take hours. Traditional Table layouts have slow-loading pages because the browser has to retrieve the page from the server and decipher the complex elements of the nested tables. When using CSS, the browser instantly renders content from the server because there isn’t extensive markup language there.
Another down side to tables is the browser needs to retrieve, analyze, and render each individual page. The browser has to go through these steps for each page, which can really slow down your website. But, if you use a cascade style sheet (CSS), the first page of the site allows the browser to cache the linked style sheet file that is used for that page. Meaning, all of the remainder of the pages will load faster since the style sheet has been decoded.
Lastly using traditional table layouts adds lots of extra code, which takes time for the computer to figure out and longer for rendering, features such as font tags. This can be minimized by moving codes to a CSS design. This will minimize your code by as much as 50% or more!!! Less code = a faster loading website!
Hopefully this has helped you better understand CSS and why it has become the web standard for design. If you have any questions feel free to comment on this article or contact us directly. We would love to help on your next project.