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Chapter 9. Style Sheets > What Are Style Sheets?

What Are Style Sheets?

Two forces compete in Web page authoring: content and presentation. When HTML was first released, the tags were largely focused on content, and they descriptively defined the various parts of a document: a heading, a paragraph, a list, and so on. Over time, instructions were added to help with presentation issues at the font level. These instructions included tags for boldface, italic, and typewriter styles.

Then, as graphical browsers became standard equipment, a greatly increased focus on presentation began. In particular, Netscape introduced proprietary extensions to HTML that only its browser could render properly. These extensions generally produced attractive effects on pages, and users began using Netscape en masse. Not to be left out, Microsoft began producing its own browser—Internet Explorer—and with it, its own proprietary HTML extensions. Content authors, who could only watch the new tags emerge, were frequently left confused and frustrated because it was hard to tell which browser to write for and how long it would be before the next new set of bells and whistles became available.


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