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Lessons Taught

The primary mission of the Zen Garden is to showcase what’s possible with standards-based design, and browsing the various designs will provide a powerful display of the flexibility CSS offers. On its own, CSS is a design language meant to enhance a base markup language like HTML, XHTML, or XML. CSS1 was first introduced in 1996, with CSS2 following up soon after in 1998. Browsers began incrementally supporting both, and from 1998 on it became a standard practice for Web designers to control all of a site’s typography through an external CSS file. That’s about all that anyone did with it, until four or five years later.

There was a good reason why fonts were all you’d consider using CSS for—they were about the only thing you could rely on working across a variety of browsers. They didn’t even work that well, but there was a distinct advantage to doing it this way that made a lot of designers use CSS anyway.


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