HTML and CSS – The Foundations

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is the heart of any web page and dates back to the beginning of the World Wide Web. It lays out the content of the page (including images) and (optionally) styling elements such as colors and fonts.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) originated around ten years ago and is designed to “factor out” styling from the content. The use of CSS makes web page development and maintenance simpler and more productive, and has spawned numerous innovations in browser technology. Its use is almost universal today.

While virtually all web pages use HTML and CSS, different sites use different processes to create them. Originally, all pages were coded by hand, and this is still today an effective way for an experienced developer to build a small site which will require minimal updates. Some developers use page generators (such as Microsoft FrontPage), which require less of a learning curve but suffer some compatibility and flexibility drawbacks. The most efficient option from a site maintenance perspective is the use of content management systems, which are configured to build the pages “on the fly” from information stored in a database.