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CSS Basics

As great as CSS is, it’s a big, new scary world if you’ve never been here before. This look at the basics covers how CSS came to be, what it does and how it works, and what tools Dreamweaver MX 2004 has on tap to help you create it.

A Little History Lesson

The original concept for HTML was that of a language used to mark up text to describe the different structural elements of a document. HTML tags identified which portion of a document was a heading, which portions were paragraphs, which portion was part of a list, and which words needed to be emphasized. The browsers were designed to interpret these structural elements in such a way that the text onscreen made sense to the reader. Not every browser displayed text the same; one might show text marked emphasize in italics, and another might show that text in bold, but either way, the text was emphasized. The goal was readable documents that would display with structural definition across a variety of platforms (see Figure 11.1).


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