HTML and CSS Reference
126.96.36.199. The pros and cons of external styles
Because stylesheets provide consistency in the presentation of your doc-
uments, external stylesheets are the best and easiest way to manage
styles for your entire document collection. Simply place the desired style
rules in a stylesheet, and apply those styles to the desired documents.
Because all of the documents are affected by a single stylesheet, con-
version of the entire collection to a new style is as simple as changing a
single rule in the corresponding external stylesheet.
Even in cases where documents may differ in style, it is often possible
to collect a few basic style rules in a single sheet that can be shared
among several otherwise different documents, including:
• Background color
• Background image
• Font sizes and faces
• Text alignment
Another benefit of external stylesheets is that other web authors who
want to copy your style can easily access that sheet and make their
pages look like yours. Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, you
should not be troubled when someone elects to emulate the look and
feel of your pages. More to the point, you can't stop them from linking
to your stylesheets, so you might as well learn to like it. Like conven-
tional HTML documents, it is not possible to encrypt or otherwise hide
your stylesheets so that others cannot view and use them.
The biggest problem with external stylesheets is that they may increase
the amount of time needed to access a given web page. Not only must
the browser download the page itself, but it must also download the
stylesheet before the page can be displayed to the user. While most
stylesheets are relatively small, their existence can definitely be felt
when accessing the Web over a slow connection.