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Is it necessary for me to learn cascading style sheets?

I hope this is the correct place to post this:
I am developing a web site for a e-commerce business I will be
running. The site I'm setting up will be 50% store, 50% content. I'm
not sure which shopping cart I'll be using yet (am looking at
os-commerce and miva) but the other part will be content. I will be
writing reviews of products, articles on the industry, and someday may
have some blogging and forums and advertising. I have to add that I
am not much into programming and I want a good web site but most of
all what is important to me is ease of use and a easy to update web
page. I will be using Macromeda Studio 8 to develop it (dreamweaver
and flash)
Is CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) a technology I'll have to learn? What
is it used for?
Aug 17 '06 #1
5 1511
MarkW wrote:
Is CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) a technology I'll have to learn? What
is it used for?
1995-style authoring included the presentation right along with the
HTML. The modern way to compose pages is to separate the presentation
from the content. You do that with CSS style sheets.

http://htmldog.com/guides/cssbeginner/

--
-bts
-Warning: I brake for lawn deer
Aug 17 '06 #2
MarkW wrote:
Is CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) a technology I'll have to learn?
Not "have to", but it's one you _ought_ to learn. You always have the
option to do things badly! - or at least not as well as you might.
What is it used for?
Simpler internal HTML structure, which means easier pages to generate.
They're _so_ simple that you can throw your Dreamweaver away, as
something that's big, clumsy and just gets in the way. It's also
excellent for content-heavy posts (like blog entries or reviews) where
you're more interested in getting the content up now, rather than
working too hard to hand-format each post.

Simpler HTML needs simpler database and back-ends scripts to generate
it.

Better rendering of your pages across different browsers. No more of
those old sites that were only readable if you had the same brand of
monitor as the original coder.

Better access for mobile devices, a market that's increasingly
important.

Treat yourself to a copy of "Head First HTML & CSS". Put Dreamweaver
away in the back of a cupboard. Avoid Flash as much as humanly
possible. Only ever use it if you have a good idea for something that
actually needs it

Aug 17 '06 #3
Sounds like CSS is something I definitely have to learn. I will look
at that one book and am interested in any books and other ways of
learning CSS.
Aug 17 '06 #4
In article <ed************ *************** *****@4ax.com>, MarkW
<ma*****@Remove NoSpamcomcast.n etwrites
>but most of all what is important to me is ease of use and a easy to
update web page. I will be using Macromeda Studio 8 to develop it
(dreamweaver and flash)
To add to what others have said, if you are looking to create a web site
that is easy for your users to use, and easy for the search engines to
index, both of which should be high priorities, then drop dreamweaver
and flash immediately. You should be looking to create lean, simple and
semantic markup, without any presentational elements in the (X)HTML.
Which leads nicely to...
Is CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) a technology I'll have to learn?
As others have said, you don't *have* to learn it, but then you don't
*have* to learn HTML or design. You can present all of your pages as
plain text if you want, but your site won't perform well.
What is it used for?
Separation of content (the stuff that actually interests people, like
product descriptions, prices, etc) from presentation (how the content is
displayed, such as colour, font size, etc).

The big advantage (and one that many people underestimate commercially)
is that site written to web standards (valid (X)HTML and CSS, complete
separation, etc) perform better in search engines than those written
with the older approach (table based design, flash used for content,
etc). Consequently, these sites appear higher in the search engine
results, giving you more visitors and (hopefully) more sales.

The other significant issue is that the ever-growing section of the
populous who are either disadvantaged in some way (poor sight or blind
being one of the most obvious, but there are others) as well as those
viewing your site in a hand-held or otherwise restricted device will be
far more likely to make sense of your site if it is written to web
standards. Given the explosive growth of these sections of the market,
it is well worth putting in the effort to do it right, as you include
quite a lot of people who would otherwise find your site hard to use.

This is all from a commercial point of view. There are other arguments
that are valid as well, such as the moral issue of not excluding
disadvantaged people, as well as the personal satisfaction of a valid
and high quality site. All of these are important, but in your position,
my guess is that the commercial advantages are significant enough to
persuade you.

HTH

--
Alan Silver
(anything added below this line is nothing to do with me)
Aug 29 '06 #5
In article <lK************ **@nospamthanky ou.spam>,
Alan Silver <al*********@no spam.thanx.inva lidwrote:
In article <ed************ *************** *****@4ax.com>, MarkW
<ma*****@Remove NoSpamcomcast.n etwrites
but most of all what is important to me is ease of use and a easy to
update web page. I will be using Macromeda Studio 8 to develop it
(dreamweaver and flash)

To add to what others have said, if you are looking to create a web site
that is easy for your users to use, and easy for the search engines to
index, both of which should be high priorities, then drop dreamweaver
and flash immediately. You should be looking to create lean, simple and
semantic markup, without any presentational elements in the (X)HTML.
Which leads nicely to...
Actually, if you're trying to learn CSS, Dreamweaver can be helpful.

I use it in code mode, and both the ability to browse current style
settings and the contextual popup menus of style elements/attributes
are features I use all the time. It also has syntax and spell checking,
which is helpful. The design view is not as helpful as previewing in
a couple of different browsers, since Dreamewaver's rendering engine
doesn't always handle things correctly.

So, if you already have Studio 8, no point in not using it to help
generate your html pages. You don't need Flash for generating good
web pages, though. It's great for animating things that really
need animating, but a lousy way to present text, implement menus,
present static images, do forms, etc. A kid's website loaded up
with all kinds of games and activities, now that's a different
thing entirely (e.g. tvokids.com, ytv.com, ...) - but that would be
the exception, not the rule.
Is CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) a technology I'll have to learn?

As others have said, you don't *have* to learn it, but then you don't
*have* to learn HTML or design. You can present all of your pages as
plain text if you want, but your site won't perform well.
What is it used for?

Separation of content (the stuff that actually interests people, like
product descriptions, prices, etc) from presentation (how the content is
displayed, such as colour, font size, etc).

The big advantage (and one that many people underestimate commercially)
is that site written to web standards (valid (X)HTML and CSS, complete
separation, etc) perform better in search engines than those written
with the older approach (table based design, flash used for content,
etc). Consequently, these sites appear higher in the search engine
results, giving you more visitors and (hopefully) more sales.
You forgot maintainability - it's a LOT easier to update the content
if you aren't continually tripping over a whole bunch of tags whose
sole purpose is presentational. Likewise, it's also a LOT easier to
change the look and feel of a site by editing one CSS file than having
to go in and change every single page's presentational markup
individually.

[snip other good points]
Aug 29 '06 #6

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