Week 6 – CSS, HTML and XML – How are they related and what is the future?

Having chosen cascading style sheets to research for a previous web task, I have a fairly good understanding of what it is and the difference between CSS and HTML languages. However web is a forever changing topic because of the latest advancements in technology for example apps are a fairly recent discovery.

However web is changing because people are now starting to update their browsers to support 4.x or higher instead of 2.x and lower. Therefore designers have had to invest in something other than HTML languages when authoring a webpage. This is where CSS became the new hype. CSS could solve many issues such as displaying large amounts of information in large tables whilst, maintaining a suitable font that users of the site can read comfortably. Just as HMTL is always being developed, so is CSS with many new promises such as supporting paged media.(In other words diving up the page so it can be printed instead of one continuous scroll.) As well as inventing different style sheets for different media types, which has recently become of importance due to many apps being developed.

CSS works with XHTML in order to style the content in the strict XHTML document. CSS applies rules to parts of the XHTML codes because XHTML is very limited with regard to style. These CSS rules tells a specific part like the body of the document, to be in a certain font like Arial for example and tell it to be purple, blue or any colour the designer wishes the text to be. CSS can also set up margins for an image and change the background colour of headers, main body and footers.  Depending on the designers experience with CSS, the designer can use different fonts. For example paragraphs may be in Arial but the heading may not be. To be more complex depending on which selector a rule belongs to a designer can change the colour and font of the text in various different places within the same paragraph.

Example of CSS rule

It is important to note, as I discovered during my research task that, CSS does not give you complete control over the design of the website. This is because the creator of the style sheet, that the designer of the website is using, is still influencing the design of the website. Even though a cascading style sheet was invented to give complete control to the designer of the website. This can only be achieved when the designer of the website, realises this and overrides the style sheets completely. This is where XSL can bridge the gap between CSS and XML because it gives the browsers better quality information to deal with and allow the data to be manipulated. So the future for CSS is going to be paired up with XSL, in order to produce better standards of websites.

Upon reflection I was pleased that I could challenge the material and resources I had read. However in order to improve I feel I may need to seek feedback from my lecturer to ensure my writing style is suited to the task. Also that the content of the blogs has been correctly extracted from the weekly readings and my ideas are well communicated. Furthermore although I understand more specialist terms now, I feel I need to use them more often.

Cites for this weeks reading:

Freeman, E. and Freeman, E. 2013. Untitled. [online] Available at: http://oreilly.com/catalog/hfhtmlcss/chapter/ch08.pdf [Accessed: 24 Nov 2013].

Niederst Robbins, J. 2007. Learning web design. 4th ed. Beijing: O’Reilly.

Thomas, B. 1999. Cascade effects [WWW computer style sheets]. Internet Computing, IEEE, 3 (1), pp. 89-90. Available from: doi: 10.1109/4236.747329 [Accessed: 24 Nov 2013].

Newhouse, M. 2002. Digital Web Magazine – Cascading Style Sheets, Promise vs. Reality, and a Look to the Future. [online] Available at: http://www.digital-web.com/articles/css_promise_vs_reality_and_a_look_to_the_future/ [Accessed: 24 Nov 2013].

Clarke, A., Holzschlag, M. and Shea, D. 2009. Transcending CSS. Berkeley, CA: New Riders.

Html.net. 2013. Lesson 2: How does CSS work? – HTML.net. [online] Available at: http://html.net/tutorials/css/lesson2.php [Accessed: 24 Nov 2013].

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