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What are HTML5 and CSS3?

Cascading Style Sheets — or CSS — is the language web developers and designers use to stylize and format documents that are created in HTML. CSS is what you’d use if you wanted to organize the layout and improve the look and feel of a web page. 

This article will help you learn what HTML5 and CSS3 are and learn about CSS3’s most essential modules and features. We’ll also cover the use and need of CSS3, who is best suited to learning and using CSS3, and how it can accelerate your career growth.

Hedgehog lifting up a website to show CSS code underneath

What exactly are CSS3 and HTML5?

HTML and CSS are the core language components that are used for the construction of web pages. 

HTML describes the structure of the pages, primarily in regards to tables, text, headings, and images or graphics. It’s the standard programming language for the overall appearance of web pages. 

CSS, on the other hand, is the language used for describing the presentation of each page, and primarily in regards to the layout, fonts, and colors.   

HTML5

HTML5 is a revision of the HTML standard. It’s a massive improvement over HTML4 because HTML4 did not allow web developers to add features to their sites that were not HTML-supported. To do so required the use of proprietary technologies and the installation of browser plugins. 

Subsequently, if web users did not have a device that supported the use of those proprietary technologies or plugins either, then they could not access the content. An example is how Safari on mobile Apple devices does not support the use of Adobe Flash.

The main purpose behind HTML5 was to remove the need for proprietary technologies and plugins. You can create offline applications, and include multimedia animations, audio, and video into your web pages without needing to download extra plugins to include said applications or multimedia. 

CSS3

Web designers and developers use CSS3 and HTML to build and modify content on a web page. CSS lets you choose from different typographies, images, colors, tables, and much more to stylize a web page in a way that’s intuitive for users and aesthetically pleasing. 

Without CSS, we wouldn’t have any way to position different elements on a web page — CSS lets you use values like ‘fixed’ and ‘absolute’ to position a web page’s visual components.

CSS3 is simply the updated version of an earlier version of CSS (CSS2). It has many important improvements and features that help improve your web presence and are now being utilized in modern browsers, including:

  • Allowing third-party videos to be viewed without the installation of third-party plugins
  • Making it easier to install graphics on a web page 
  • Allowing the presentation of content in multiple columns 
  • Enabling a precise positioning of all navigable elements in a web page 
  • Adjusting the white space of a document 
Hedgehog displaying mobile-friendly website

Why is CSS important for web design and development?

CSS3 makes it viable to create web pages that are interactive and highly responsive. CSS3 is often lauded for the many options it provides web designers who need to make their online pages enjoyable to use. After all, if a customer is checking out products and services that a web page is advertising, the presentation of those products and services should be visually appealing — that’s where CSS comes in.

Another advantage to using CSS3 on top of HTML is that it lets web designers create web content without a lot of code. A great example of CSS’s low-code benefits comes from the important modules that CSS3 delivers, like box models, backgrounds and borders, and different layouts for columns. 

CSS3 allows designers to add text effects, modify a web page’s layout, or stylize numbers, headers, and footers. Things such as drop shadows, gradients, and rounded corners are practically essential to making any web page appear halfway decent.  Once upon a time, these things would have required a web developer to code them from scratch. These days, designers and developers can use CSS3 to consistently create elements for web pages that are precisely positioned while saving time in the process.

You can’t afford to pass on the enhancements in design that CSS3 provides, especially considering that most of your website’s visitors have short attention spans subject to unending cycles of dopamine.

Designers and developers can use CSS3 to consistently create elements for web pages that are precisely positioned while saving time in the process. It’s also a great time to adopt CSS3 into your web development process if you’re getting ready to launch and host a website. Imagine, for example, that you’re setting up a secure cloud hosting solution for your site — you need a way to expedite the rate at which you bring your web pages to life rather than get bogged down by web design. CSS3 is perfect for new websites that need text effects, ways to modify web page layout, and methods that can add numbers, headers, and footers.

It used to be the case that web developers and designers had to turn to complex methods that involved plenty of HTML coding just to create things like drop shadows or rounded corners — no longer is this the case! CSS3 affords us a nearly endless number of ways to include these designs directly and ultimately make your web pages look cleaner and, well, simply better.

Who should be learning CSS3?

Before you consider learning CSS3, it’s a good idea first to have a solid grasp of HTML5. That’s because HTML is the underlying code that creates a web page’s structure and content, whereas CSS is essential to organizing and stylizing that structure. 

So, if you learn HTML fundamentals, you’ll be able to understand how websites are created. Once you understand how HTML works, CSS lets you add many layers of dynamic functionality to the pages you create. 

Plus, once you learn CSS3 and understand how it interacts with HTML, you’ll then be able to use JavaScript to add even more dynamic functionality to your website. 

If you’re interested in learning CSS3, take comfort in the fact that it’s not difficult to master. Anyone craving a greater level of control over how their web pages look should take the time to learn CSS3 and HTML. If you master these two languages, there won’t be anything stopping you from building modern and classy websites.

Hedgehog working on CSS on computer

How CSS3 can accelerate your career

No matter how far along you are in your web development career, it’s a good idea to learn CSS3 to accelerate your growth. Web development is a field that’s hotter than ever and is a profession that’s slated to keep growing well after 2025. 

A little-known fact about web development is that CSS, HTML, and JavaScript have been part of the profession for several decades. These three languages form the foundation of web development, and to this day, they form the basis on which new technologies emerge and prosper. If you’ve mastered CSS, you can leverage your skills to pursue web development in other areas, such as mobile app development. 

If you love creating web pages that are responsive and exciting to use, you can apply your knowledge of CSS to learn the Bootstrap CSS framework. You can take many paths once you become proficient in CSS3 to keep accelerating your web development career and earn more than you ever thought possible.

Good places to learn about HTML and CSS online include the following resources:

Become proficient with CSS3

If you’re a web designer or developer, you must become as proficient with CSS3 as possible. CSS3 is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal when creating web pages, and since its introduction, CSS3 has granted greater control over how you can present web page content. It doesn’t matter which path you take next to keep advancing your web developer capabilities — you’ll always need mastery over technologies like CSS that form the foundation for web development.

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Gary Stevens avatar

Gary Stevens

Gary Stevens is a web developer and technology writer. He's a part-time blockchain geek and a volunteer working for the Ethereum foundation as well as an active Github contributor. More articles written by Gary.

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