View Full Version : What can CSS do exactly

08-29-2006, 03:34 PM
Hello All,

I know HTML enough to get by and lately I have been really studding it and getting to know it better. Since I am a graphic designer I have always used Photoshop/Illustrator and sliced the images out and created a my websites that way. Well, when I do it that way I have to be careful what text I use because the slices are only so big and the sides have to be able to stretch when I need more room. The big thing is when people visit my site this is clearly what I have done. I want to be better than that and CSS seems to do this...I think.

I stumbled on the site csszengarden.com and it's really cool. What I want to know is - Is it CSS that can make a site like this: http://www.csszengarden.com/?cssfile=/195/195.css&page=0

Meaning, text all aligned in one column and links and such in another column, have a header and footer, and the background seems to be behind the text and as one piece not sliced out. All of csszengardens samples are like this. Here is another example: http://www.csszengarden.com/?cssfile=/194/194.css&page=0

Am I correct in assuming that this is what CSS can do or is this something else? I would like to know so I know which direction to go to expand my knowledge of web and web design. Any suggestions on learning sites or books are welcome as well.

Thanks everyone.


08-29-2006, 08:58 PM
You're right. All the CSS Zengarden pages (all the different looks) are made with the exact same HTML page. The design difference between them are all made with their respective CSS file.

08-29-2006, 09:05 PM
Okay, So as a designer I can design the look of the site and then use CSS to place the graphics and text where I need them and format them. Is that correct? HTML is basically just the structure with CSS making it look good?

08-29-2006, 09:25 PM
Nevermind, I actually found a post from you in another topic that explained it quite well. This was what you said

On webpages HTML is supposed to be the structural organization of your information, while CSS defines how that content should 'look', the styling the presentaton layer of the website. Many people still use HTML as a presentation language, which works, but is quickly loosing ground for standard compliant websites.


08-30-2006, 01:23 PM
Yes, and that's how it's supposed to work in theory :) Most websites on the web is not using this approach, and many web designers resist going from table based to a CSS based design.

The switch from a grid (table) layout, to one done with CSS has been notoriously difficult for people that has been using tables to design websites for a while (I used to be one). The whole approach to how you design a website is different. At the same time there's young web designers out there right now that's never made a website with tables.

2 books comes to mind; both from Sitepoint:

Build Your Own Web Site The Right Way Using HTML & CSS

HTML Utopia: Designing Without Tables Using CSS, 2nd Edition

08-30-2006, 09:00 PM
The switch from a grid (table) layout, to one done with CSS has been notoriously difficult for people that has been using tables to design websites for a while (I used to be one).

I am one of those as well. I have looked at CSS before but It never seems to make since. When I started getting more into HTML and realizing how limited it can be I came to the conclusion the I think CSS is what I need to know to start building a better looking website.

I will check those books out and hopefully be on my way to learning CSS!
- Thanks!!!

08-31-2006, 03:29 AM
this link has a few free layouts which I found great to play around with and learn from.


Creative Insanity
08-31-2006, 07:40 PM
Hey Jit.. I am one of those old table guys that just will not turn (but I know I will have to one day) but I do now use CSS with my layouts and find them rather a easy single location to have your design look. Sorta like templates.. make one change in a css file and all connected pages change also. Rather nice that.

One day when I get the gutts I will have to ditch my faithful tables, but not today ;)

09-11-2006, 09:45 PM
Thanks edbr,

CI, I seem to be just like you. I knew a long time ago that I should start to learn CSS but was reluctant to learn and look where I am at now. CSS seems like it would really benefit with templates. I am trying to gather my guts and ditch my faithful tables.....I will let you know if I sink or swim.

Creative Insanity
09-12-2006, 12:30 AM
Well Jit I took the leap the other day and I must say I am not that sorry I did.
It is also not as hard as some might lead you to think as I found it rather easy actually.
I can now get a 3 column layout (so many told me this was hard) and found it no real big hassle. Just have to think about the layout and how it all works.
It can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be.