Easy Website Development and Maintenance
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) defines how to display HTML elements in a web page, thereby specifying the appearance and layout of web pages. It allows changing the appearance and layout of multiple web pages by editing just a single file, making it easier and faster to make changes.
The earlier versions of HTML did not provision for formatting a document using tags. When HTML 3.2 incorporated formatting tags such as colour and font attributes, web developers had to repeat such tags for every page, resulting in tedious and repetitive work. Moreover, any change to the style required extensive editing across all pages, increasing the scope for errors, besides adding to the costs and time.
To solve these issues, HTML 4.0 allowed separating such formatting code from the HTML file that contains the document content, and rather storing it in a separate CSS file. The web developers call the CSS file at the required place in the HTML code, allowing them to make uniform formatting changes to multiple web pages by making changes in just a single place.
The global style sheet made possible by CSS also makes Website maintenance easier. It becomes very easy to change the appearance or font of the Website, without such changes affecting the rest of the Website. Web site owners, for instance, may easily make changes the background or font every week, to give the Website a new and fresh look, without such changes affecting the content in any way, or without such change requiring time or cost.
Apart from making the task of web page development and maintenance fast and easier, CSS also contributes to Website efficiency. Repeating the style information inline for each occurrence of the element leads to bloated code. Rather, the style sheet specifying the style only once for a range of HTML elements results in a much leaner code, contributing to overall efficiency.
Such efficiency directly translates to faster loading of web pages. Leaner code downloads faster than bulkier code. Besides, browsers store external stylesheets in the browser cache, allowing its use on multiple pages without reloading, further speeding up the webpage and reducing data transfer over the network.
Simply changing a single line in the HTML allows using a different CSS file for the same page. This makes web pages flexible, and allows presenting the same web page in different styles for different rendering methods, such as on-screen, print, voice and more. It also facilitates publication of content in multiple presentation formats based on nominal parameters such as explicit user preferences, geographical location, web browsers, device type, screen size, and more. The latter application is invaluable in today’s multi device age where consumers access the same web content from multiple and radically different devices such as the office desktop, tablet and smart phone, and international marketers strive to localise web pages without changing content.
CSS also ensures that the web content actually works across multiple devices. With external style sheets, devices not able to understand the HTML styling would still display the content, sans the appearance and layout specified in the CSS file, rather than display an error message.