Features

by Joe Gillespie — Feb 1, 2004

I've covered some interesting Cascading Style Sheets techniques in the last year or so, but in almost every case, I've been pushing the envelope – sometimes a bit too hard. Most CSS Web pages will break in some browser at some time but hey, we're in the fast lane here! If you are already into CSS, you will probably understand what's going on but if you are not comfortable with CSS yet, it can be tough going.

If you can think back to a time when you couldn't ride a bicycle or swim, it all seemed sooo difficult. Some people still can't cycle or swim, but that's not because they are particularly difficult things to do, it's just because they give up too easily.

For some people, computers are a complete mystery and best left alone. If you hadn't learned how to use a computer, you wouldn't be reading this now. Just think of what it would be like not having a computer now. Can you imagine?

For those of you that have yet to dabble in CSS, you don't know what you are missing. Trying to sell you the idea is a bit like you trying to persuade a computer-illiterate that typewriters really have had their day. To ease you in gently, I have written a primer that goes right back to the basics and explains what it is all about. If you have never even built a Web page before or have been insulated from CSS by some WYSIWYG editor, then the article, and the follow-ups, will help you understand what is going on in the background. If all this is old hat to you then check out the more advanced stuff I've listed on the left.

I have made the tutorial as a supplement to this editorial so that it will be a stand alone reference. It has a slightly different look and color scheme to keep it visually separate from the rest of the site and I'm also trying very hard to do everything 'by the book' and keep it simple.

'By the book' is something that I'm not very good at. Rules and regulations tend to stifle creative thinking but I do believe that you have to, at least, 'know' the rules before you bend them. That's quite a different story from ignoring them completely.

This month, the first three steps cover making a basic HTML page, adding a style sheet and then formatting some text. In the months to come, I'll go into more detail about creating layouts, adding columns and using CSS for interactivity – all from the ground up!

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