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Understanding CSS and External CSS- A Basic Overview

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Any person involved with online websites would come across the word CSS or style sheet several times. If you are a technical person and have been a part of the designing of a website, you would know what CSS is, but if you are new to designing and don’t know much about it, here is a little help for you. CSS or Cascading Style Sheet is a web page generated from varied sources with a defined order of precedence where the explanation of any style element conflicts. The CSS is implemented in the updated and latest version of Microsoft Web Browsers and Netscape, identifies the possible style sheets that may establish how a given element is usually presented in a web page.

Cascading Style Sheet or CSS gives more control over the appearance of a web page to the page creator than to a viewer or a browser designer. It shows how HTML elements are displayed on the screen or in media. CSS saves lot of work as it can control the layout of numerous web pages all at once. CSS defines styles that include layout, design, and variations in display from different devices of varied screen sizes.

Types of CSS

There are three different types of CSS styles- inline styles, embedded styles and external styles.

  • Inline styles are ones that are written directly in the tag on the document. Inline styles affect only the tag, they are applied to.
  • Embedded styles are those that are embedded in the head of a document. It affects only the tags on the page they are embedded in.
  • External styles are the ones that are written in a separate document and then attached to various website documents. These files can affect any documents they are attached to.

The best practices of CSS suggests that using external style sheets for a web page is the best method to get the most benefit of the cascade and inheritance feature of the sheet.

Advantages of Using CSS & Its Types

The benefits of CSS for a new website as well as an old website are the same. If you use CSS to design a new website or for your old one, be rest assured that with CSS you can make designing a success story for people to follow. Here are few benefits of Cascading Style Sheets:

Consistency

You can make a change on a website’s style sheet without having to make that change in every other page. For small websites, this may not be much of a good news but for larger websites, it is a great news. CSS allows user to make the same changes automatically in every other page. This not only saves time but also makes styling consistent throughout the site.

Bandwidth Reduction

When CSS separates the website content from its design language, it reduces the file transfer size dramatically. The CSS documents are stored externally and can be accessed when a visitor requests your website for it. The bandwidth is automatically reduced giving you faster load time and better web hosting costs.

Search Engine

CSS has a clean coding technique. This implies search engines won’t find it difficult to read its content. Using CSS will also leave your website with more content than code and we all know content is king, a must for search engine success.

Browser Compatibility

Today, internet users have so many options available to choose as their browser. This makes browser compatibility a very important issue for websites. CSS sheets increase a website’s ability to adapt to a browser. It ensures that a viewer can enjoy the website in the similar manner it was planned to.

Viewing Options

CSS helps you tackle the challenge of web design for different media and screen sizes. CSS allows the same markup page to be presented in different viewing styles. So whichever device you use for viewing a site, it always appears perfect.

Combining CSS Files into External CSS Files

Each CSS files that you use for a website adds time to your page load speed. In certain cases, it is unavoidable, but in most cases, you can combine all CSS files together by using copy and paste. A single CSS file for all the coding and design will make it easier for you and CSS to manage the website. Needless saying, it will also improve the page speed and reduce page load time.

How to Link An External CSS Sheet

To start building an external style sheet, you need to write some CSS in the first place. To do this use a blank page in the text editor and write out the styles as you would while putting them in the <style> tag in the header of the document. Do not write any HTML here. Once the entire style sheet is written, save it as a .css file and make note of the location you saved it. After completing the creation of external style sheet, attach it to your HTML document. Use the <link> tag to do this. Use the following attributes to link the file, and do not leave any attribute.

  • href=”URL of your stylesheet”
  • rel=”stylesheet”
  • type=”text/css”

Several other methods can be used to make external style sheets. When doing so, choose the one easier for you to manage.

Leveraging CSS for Bucketkart

Bucketkart, one of our clients gave us the task to optimize their site performance. So we started with rectifying the glaring performance issues that the website faced. Site speed was a very important part of the website. It needed some boosting. We did a root cause analysis to unearth and pinpoint the causes of low performance for the website. CSS was a major problem for the site that affected its performance. Our tech professionals implemented industry’s best practices to implement measures that would boost the site performance and speed. Among several such changes, that we made leveraging external style sheet was a crucial one.

The earlier front code used for the site was a bottleneck that did not conform to the standard practices. Hence, we consolidated the CSS scripts scattered all over the web pages into a single external style sheet. This gave the admin control over the look and feel of the site. It also improved the load time for the site immensely. External CSS gave Bucketkart the freedom to have all their data in one place. It increased the page speed along with all the benefits mentioned above.

Conclusion

CSS offers several advantages and we now know about them. Choosing CSS for web design would be a wise choice that any website owner can make. Using external CSS is another great way to make the maximum use of the benefits that CSS offers. To ensure that your website looks better, loads faster and rank higher, consider using CSS like we did for our client Bucketkart and others.

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Understanding CSS and External CSS- A Basic Overview