HTML and CSS Reference
In-Depth Information
What this means to you as a web page designer is that the pages you create with HTML
might look different from system to system and from browser to browser. The actual
information and links inside those pages are still there, but the onscreen appearance
changes. You can design a web page so that it looks perfect on your computer system,
but when someone else reads it on a different system, it might look entirely different.
(And it might vbe entirely unreadable.)
How the Visual Styles for Tags Evolved
In practice, most HTML tags are rendered in a fairly standard manner, on desktop
computers at least. When the earliest browsers were written, somebody decided
that links would be underlined and blue, visited links would be purple, and empha-
sized text would appear in italic. They also made similar decisions about every other
tag. Since then, pretty much every browser maker has followed that convention to a
greater or lesser degree. These conventions blurred the line separating structure
from presentation, but in truth it still exists, even if it's not obvious.
Why It Works This Way
If you're used to writing and designing documents that will wind up printed on paper,
this concept might seem almost perverse. No control over the layout of a page? The
whole design can vary depending on where the page is viewed? This is awful! Why on
earth would a system work like this?
Remember in Lesson 1, “Navigating the World Wide Web,” when I mentioned that one
of the cool things about the Web is that it's cross-platform and that web pages can be
viewed on any computer system, on any size screen, with any graphics display? If the
final goal of web publishing is for your pages to be readable by anyone in the world, you
can't count on your readers having the same computer systems, the same screen size, the
same number of colors, or the same fonts that you have. The Web takes into account all
these differences and enables all browsers and all computer systems to be on equal
The Web, as a design medium, is not a new form of paper. The Web is an entirely differ-
ent medium, with its own constraints and goals that are different from working with
paper. The most important rules of web page design, as I'll keep harping on throughout
this topic, are the following:
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