HTML and CSS Reference
A Short History of CSS
In the beginning, the Web was simple. The first-ever public web page (see Figure 1-1 ) consisted of plain,
unadorned text. Headings were in large, bold type; links were blue and underlined—and that was it.
Figure 1-1. The first-ever web page contained just text and links
■ The original, which was created toward the end of 1990, no longer exists, but you can see a copy at
The lack of images and any attempt at styling the page seem odd to us now, but the Web's origins lie in the
scientific community, not with artists or graphic designers. It didn't take long before people other than scientists
began to demand the ability to include images. Once images began to brighten up web pages, designers began to
use their imagination to invent new uses for existing tags. Most notably, the <table> tag, which was intended to
display scientific data in tabular form, was adapted to provide a grid structure for page layout. HTML was being
stretched beyond its limits. Tags such as <h4> were no longer used for low-level subheadings, but to display small,
bold text. The <blockquote> tag, often nested several levels deep, became a way to indent objects, rather than to
highlight a quotation from another source. Document structure was thrown to the wind, making it difficult and
expensive to maintain web pages or adapt them for other uses, such as printed materials.
The answer was to restore HTML to its original purpose—marking up the structure of the document—and
create a new markup language, CSS, devoted to styling the look of a web page. The body responsible for drawing
up agreed standards for the Web, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), published the first version of this
language (CSS1) at the end of 1996, but it wasn't an instant success.