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Cascading Style Sheets

content document html css

Definition: Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) was introduced within the HTML 4.0 specification to separate content from formatting, and to provide precise document layout and format control.

The Hypertext Markup Language allows authors to intersperse tags for controlling the display or formatting of a document within the content itself. HTML is designed to be flexible, with the tags acting as directives and being subject to some level of interpretation by the user agent which does the final document rendering. While this practice results in concise documents and provides some measure of adaptability for different devices, it lacks specificity and promotes redundancy since different versions of each document may be required for different device types. To address these concerns, the widely used W3C recommendation know as Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) was introduced within the HTML 4.0 specification to separate content from formatting, and to provide precise document layout and format control. CSS is designed to be hierarchal, wherein base styles are inherited and authors need only specify changes in particular style attributes. This minimizes redundancy, not only in terms of content, but in terms of style specification.

Style sheets not only support separation of content from presentation, but when combined with dynamic HTML and ECMAScript (JavaScript,) CSS can be used to create interactive user interfaces. Attributes such as element position and visibility can be manipulated under program control to perform a variety of tasks in response to user input.

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