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What is CSS? – The Style Statement of the Internet

Last updated on Jun 21,2023 4K Views

Anybody who has used the internet has probably heard about the trio of –  HTML, CSS & JavaScript. While HTML and JavaScript handle the structure and dynamic elements of a webpage respectively, CSS is meant for how a website is stylised. In this ‘what is CSS’ article, we will be taking a brief look into the technology and achieve a general overview of ‘how it works?’

The following topics have been covered in this blog

  1. Introduction to CSS
  2. How CSS Cascades?
  3. Selectors
  4. Properties & Values

What is CSS?

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. CSS is a technology proposed and developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C for short. It was released to help free web-developers from the tedious process of inline styling and make styling a separate entity in itself. Today, if you were to download the excerpt of a functioning web-page, you will find a lot of files and folder, but the three major elements are HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I’ll explain what each does in short.

  1. HTML – Provide the structure to the website. Think about it like the skeleton of your body.
  2. CSS – Style. The clothes you wear, the way you wear them can be thought of as a simple analogy of CSS.
  3. JavaScript – Making the webpage come alive. Everything that you see moving on a website – from the simple animation of a button-press to detailed gaming animation. That’s the job of JavaScript.

Before CSS was released, there was only HTML and JavaScript. Developers would have to sit and style each individual element, which happens to be not only tedious but also a cumbersome process. Today, with the help of CSS, enterprise-level websites can be stylised in a matter of hours. This is due to the cascading nature of CSS.

So let’s take a moment to understand how CSS cascades.

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How Does CSS Cascade?

CSS brought about a revolution in web-development and how people perceive the process of building a website. Prior to the existence of CSS, elements had to be styled in an in-line fashion or the style were implemented in the head section of an HTML page. changed due to the cascading nature of CSS. Here are the three major ways CSS cascades:

  1. Elements –  The same CSS style can be applied to multiple elements to achieve the same style.
  2. Multiple Style One Element – Multiple styles can be applied to a particular HTML element to achieve a unique style.
  3. Same style, Multiple Pages – The same stylesheet can be applied to different HTML pages altogether to achieve a template styling very quickly.

Now, let’s take a look at a very important concept of CSS, selectors.


Selectors, as the name suggests is a way to target specific HTML elements for styling purposes. If you are well versed with HTML, you will remember the two special attributes that can be added to any HTML elements i.e. ID and CLASS. With the help of these two attributes, CSS can be targeted at specific elements.

Let’s understand the fundamentals of these two selectors:

ID – An ID is unique. A particular ID can be only assigned to a single element. IDs are used when specific styling is being tried to be achieved over a single element. Below is a pictorial example of how to use an ID.

ID - What is CSS - edurekaClass – Just like the word suggests, a class is a collective way of targetting HTML elements for styling. Classes are not unique and multiple elements can have the same class. In fact, multiple classes can also be added to the same element to achieve the desired style and look. Below is an example of the usage of classes.

Class - What is CSS - edurekaNow that we know how selectors work, I’d like to bring it to your notice that there are a lot of ways to select elements on an HTML page. It’s nigh impossible to list them all out, so here’s an official link.

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Properties & Values

Ok, so we have read about how CSS selects elements on an HTML page. In this section, we will be addressing how CSS is written. Below is a picture of an example of CSS code.

property and value - What is CSS - edurekaSo if you look at the above image, you will notice that the styling commands are written in a property & value fashion. In the picture above, the property is font-color while the value is yellow. The CSS syntax also incorporates a statement terminator in the form of a semi-colon ‘;’. The entire style in then wrapped around curly braces and then attached to a selector(.boxes here). This creates a style that can be added to a style sheet and then applied to an HTML page. This is how CSS is written everywhere.

Now, there are a lot of properties and they can have a host of values. It’s almost impossible to cover all of them in a single write up, so here’s a  link to the official list of properties & values.

This brings us to the end of this “What is CSS” blog. I hope you have a general idea of what is CSS, why it is needed, and how it works.

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If you are still interested If you have any question, you could post it in the comment section of this “What is CSS” blog, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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What is CSS? – The Style Statement of the Internet