When you’re designing a website, you’ll likely have a number of different choices of coding techniques and technologies to choose from in order to solve a certain problem or achieve a certain goal. For example, you might use ASP, PHP or Ruby to accomplish your server side scripting needs. It’s also the case that there are many options available for implementing the visual design goals of your website. But one method is increasingly becoming somewhat of the de facto “standard” for visual design; CSS (cascading style sheets).
A designer can use CSS to specify all of the styles that they want to be applied to element types as well as individual elements within a website. But current CSS usage and techniques go much further than simply styling headers and paragraph text on your pages. CSS can be used to create a number of different features that were previously accomplished through less efficient means.
With CSS you can use “sprites” to reduce the number of server requests that are made, which will ensure that your website is more responsive to its users. Using sprites is a technique whereby a significant number of the small images that are used throughout the website are combined into a single image which is loaded when the site first loads. CSS is then used to hide or show particular portions of the large image wherever required on the page. Since the large sprite is loaded only once, the net effect on site responsiveness is quite favorable when compared to your visitor’s browser having to request dozens or even hundreds of small images.
CSS can be used to create abstract images (such as stylized backgrounds for a logo or text that might appear in the header of a web page, or even the background of the page itself), or even simple but realistic images that would normally be represented by a .jpg file. The advantages of using CSS is that the images are much easier to adjust on the fly than a static graphics file, are often much smaller (and quicker to load) than an image file.
With CSS you can manipulate images (allowing website visitors to resize them to larger images, for example), display them differently (as with a “shadowbox” effect), image maps or even transition from one image to another (with a fading or dissolve-type effect).
You can use CSS to display a particular visual design depending on whether the visitor to your website is viewing it on a smartphone, small screen netbook or tablet, or desktop or laptop with a large screen. CSS3 allows your website to “query” a browser for certain information and then return a particular design depending on the browser’s response.
Learning more about CSS, and the ways it can help your website, will result in better website performance.
Just a normal software developer who love to write code. Developing professional software since 1999. After working in the software industry for many years, I've started my own website to share knowledges and experiences.