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Summary

Whatever else you take away from this chapter, just remember that Cascading Style Sheets are the designer’s best friend. This is true for several reasons. First, CSS provides the tools for designers to create pages that give the designer a good deal of control. Unlike non-CSS design, which relies on using a convoluted system of tables or using bandwidth-heavy graphics, CSS provides absolute positioning and a wide assortment of style, color, and background options. Second, CSS uses less bandwidth than scripts using graphics. Instead of relying on graphics, even ones boiled down to very low file sizes, CSS is nothing but cheap and light text instructions. Third, CSS is reusable. By employing external style sheets, a whole design palette can be reused after initial development. For real-world projects in which time is money, this feature alone sets CSS apart from other design solutions.

At this point in time and, for the next couple of years, designers using DHTML and JavaScript are going to have to either create multiple functions for cross-browser compatibility or hang back until both browsers have at least Version 6 installed in the bulk of the population. By adopting the Level 2 W3C DOM (and emerging Level 3 DOM), both Netscape and Microsoft have shown signs of maturity, optimistically pointing to a time when one design will be cross-platform– and cross-browser–compatible. In the meantime, learn all you can about the W3C DOM specifications at http://www.W3C.org. You will be glad you did as this new DOM comes to represent a truly universal language of the web.


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