The Virtues of Designing with CSS


CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is a format for laying out html content, commissioned by the W3C. When HTML was first created, it was a format for documents. There were ways to format text, (making it bold, changing the size, color, etc.), there were ways to insert images, but there wasn’t really a way to layout a page. People who really knew HTML began using tables to lay out pages, since it was the only real way to control page layout. Tables were actually designed for putting tabular data into pages, but that didn’t stop anybody. It wasn’t until 1996 that a standardized way for laying out web pages was developed (CSS 1.0), and even then it wasn’t adopted, mainly because the standard wasn’t fully supported by any browser until three years later in 1999 (CSS 2.0 was released in 1998.

CSS has slowly replaced tables for web design, but not completely. There is still a long way to go. Many modern websites (and their designers) fail to adopt CSS for their designs, and continue to use tables. In this post, we hope to explain the advantages to learning CSS, and using it to lay out HTML content instead of using tables.

There are many advantages to using CSS to lay out pages. Here are the most prevalent:

  • Speed: CSS takes much less code than tables, therefore pages tend to load faster.
  • Interoperability: CSS code can be altered and re-used rapidly on new sites and pages, because it isĀ separateĀ from the content of a page.
  • Compatibility: Because CSS is a standardized language, code written for one browser will (if written properly), look the same on all browsers supporting the standard.
  • Features: CSS has many ways of laying out a page and its elements, and therefore pages utilizing CSS can look more appealing than pages laid out in HTML.
  • Modularity: CSS defines the style of certain HTML tags. Therefore parts of a CSS file can be re-used on new CSS with no changes necessary.

These are just some of the advantages to designing a page/site using CSS. To get started learning CSS, we recommend you try the W3C’s CSS tutorial (

The next standard of CSS that the W3C is working on, CSS 3, is going to have some great new features. Many of them are leaning toward cool visual effects. So if you adopt CSS now, you will be ready to utilize the new features of CSS 3 when it is released. Here are some of the things that the W3C is cooking up:

If this article confuses you, or you don’t want to do any design, try hiring a web design company like RP Design to design your next web site.


Cory is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from Eastern Connecticut State University. Cory is skilled in XHTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, C/C++, and Objective-C. Cory has extensive knowledge of open source software, and participates in the development of well-known software projects, such as Mozilla Firefox and Drupal.

Tagged with: ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.