Easy as CSS 1-2-3


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CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is the styling markup language that works with HTML to give web pages their look and feel. CSS is currently at version 3, which, being a relatively small number, would imply that it’s only been around a few years, perhaps 3 or 4.

Amazingly, CSS it was a standard proposed way back in 1994, and first released in 1996. CSS followed two years later in 1998, then in 2011, version 2.1 was released.

I have no idea why it would take thirteen years just to deliver a point release. It may have been because at the same time, starting in 1999, work started on 3.0, which still continues to this today, sixteen years later.

CSS 3 is really quite amazing. Many of its features are pure “eye candy” which would previously have been done using javascript, a relatively complex programming language.

Some of CSS3’s new features include:

  • animations and transitions
  • rounded corners
  • images for borders (rather than just plain lines)
  • box and text shadows
  • gradients
  • support for RGBA colour opacity
  • element rotation
  • multi-column layouts
  • embedding of web fonts
  • box sizing
  • media queries
  • selectors
  • multiple backgrounds
  • 3D transforms

As awesome as many of the features are, they should be used sparingly. We can’t forget that the main purpose of a website is to clearly convey information. Too many visual distractions will interfere with the readability of the text.

I can’t wait to see what CSS 4 will be like. However, at the rate that new versions are being released, it may not be available until the next century, at which time the computers will rule the world, so we won’t have much need for style sheets anyway.


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