Something I would like to see on church web site is the use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to define the appearance, and of equal importance positioning, of various Web page elements. There are some compelling reasons for this which I will get into in later articles, but the ‘short-skinny’ is:
- more and more browsers and other user agents will support CSS and not deprecated tagging idioms such as <font>.
- they provide a means of separating formatting from context
From a programmer’s perspective, it is the second point that I find the most compelling and relevant reason for implementing CSS.
One of the reasons the C Programming Language gained so much popularity in the 80′s (yes, I was there), was that is allowed programmers to break down their program into discrete and modular units, in both a micro and macro fashion. Other languages did this too, but the influence of C can be seen all over the web. The ability to atomize a problem meant that a solution to one programming problem was portable and reusable on a variety of other projects, and platforms.
In a similar fashion, by separating content from design, CSS enables us take a any portion of our content and output it to a wide-variety of user-agents and platforms. For example, wouldn’t it be nice to create one set of content, such as your calendar of events, and the be able to serve it up not only to browsers, but cell phones, PDAs and braille-readers without having to change a line of the content’s code?
There is plenty still to be said, and plenty to learn about CSS, but a good place to bookmark is the CSS Panic Guide – a guide for the unglued. The page describes itself as:
This is not a complete resource, this is a fast resource. These are the sites that I refer to first, and that I tell people to read. When you want more, just about all of them have their own links to good sites.
I like to think of it as life-saving link to have when you’re headed towards CSS hell.
Credit/Thanks to Mr.Zeldman for the link.