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Style Sheets

One of the fundamental conflicts in the development of the Web has been between those concerned with the organization of information and those concerned with graphic design - the Web was designed for scientific communication but is now more used for advertising and selling. HTML itself has quite limited facilities for graphic design. With even a medium size web site, there is also a real problem in ensuring consistent formatting and making global changes.

The solution to these problems is the style sheet. This is a file which contains all the information about presentation, and any page which needs to be formatted in accordance with a particular is linked to that file. This means that if you wanted to have all the main headings on your site in a blue italic sans serif font, for example, then instead of having to add this information to every single heading on every page, you would simply have a style sheet which says

H1 {color: blue; font-family: sans-serif; font-style: italic}

and which can be applied to any page you choose.

And if you want to switch from blue to red, you only need to edit the style sheet to change color: blue to color: red in one place.

Style sheets also allow you to specify other presentation information which cannot be achieved by HTML tags, such as setting precise margin widths and boxes around text.

Not all the software you might use to create web pages provide facilities for creating or editing style sheets. However, there is plenty of reference material about style sheets on the Web, and they are not difficult to create using an editor.

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7. Advanced Web Facilities