Advantages and Disadvantages of using CSS in Web Design
The advantages and disadvantages of using CSS in web design have become increasingly apparent. The CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) language has become more popular with web designers because each HTML file on a website can access a style sheet file for information about color, style, font, and positioning. However, although the language offers many advantages, relying on the style sheet language for editing and layout design also has some drawbacks for designers.
Advantages of CSS include better use of bandwidth and flexibility. Increased download speeds and reduced data transfer occur because style sheets are stored in the browser cache, allowing the use of multiple pages without the need to reload. Also, content submission forms are more flexible, because users who do not know how to use CSS or HTML coding can still easily select article or page layout.
CSS offers consistency by utilizing a global style sheet. By editing a few rules on the global style sheet, users can adjust style elements quickly and easily, and the changes will be implemented over the entire website. Style sheets also allow easy reformatting, or progressive enhancement. Pages become more accessible and can also be easily tailored to appear on multiple devices.
Pages using the style sheet language help search engines display text. For search engine spiders, the content at the beginning of HTML code is often viewed as more important than the text at the end of the code. This means that, for a table-based page, the navigation bar often shows up as content in the search results. CSS pages move the navigation to the bottom of the source code, which means that search engines will display content instead of navigation.
Using style sheets also has disadvantages. For instance, style sheets do not offer the capability to specify property values as single expressions, nor do they contain variables. When a developer wants to change a fundamental constant, such as a color an object's height or width, the developer has to replace everything. Also, browser support for style sheets is inconsistent. Because of bugs or lack of support for language features, different browsers render layouts differently.
The language also has limitations involving layout. As of now, the language only offers rectangular shapes, meaning that rounded corners or other shapes require non-semantic markup. Also, the language currently supports only one background image per element, requiring developers to either drop the element or add redundant wrappers.
Vertical limitations and column declaration may be problematic. For example, to center an element vertically, developers must write complicated and unintuitive style rules, or write simple rules that won't be widely supported. Multiple column layouts may also be difficult to implement, and the effect can currently only be completed by using floating elements. Floating elements render differently depending on screen shapes, screen ratios, and browsers.
The advantages and disadvantages of using CSS in web design are commonly debated by web developers. However, the language allows developers to write much cleaner code, and allows websites to operate far more efficiently. For best results, developers will have to develop some hybrid design using both elements of CSS and HTML.