The Poetry of Code


Essential Question: What does CSS stand for, and how does it relate to other web languages?

If HTML is the bass guitar of code, then CSS has to be the poetry. That’s because CSS is more expressive and enhances HTML with styles that do everything from positioning HTML elements to decorating them with color and filters to animating them in ways that make them move around the screen.

But what makes CSS unique from other languages is the freedom it allows. Unlike HTML, JavaScript, PHP, or any other “programming” language, CSS is flexible by design. There’s no “incorrect” way to do something โ€” it either works or it doesn’t. It’s even possible to create the same thing in multiple different ways.

CSS is also frustrating. Sure, it’s pretty easy to make text green or add spacing between two elements. That’s why CSS is often misconstrued as easy to pick and learn. While that may be true to some extent, the same can be said about other programming languages. The truth is that CSS has some oddities in the way it handles things.

Perhaps the most frustrating and awesome thing about CSS is in the first letter of its name, C, or the Cascading. That describes how CSS code behaves when the browser looks at it to apply styles to HTML elements. Let’s meet the Cascade and get a feel for what it is and what it does. After that, we will visit the two Ss in the acronym: Style and Sheet.

Check Your Understanding

Please answer the following ungraded questions to help you determine whether you are ready to proceed to the next lesson in the module.

(1) What does the acronym “CSS” stand for?

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Cascading Style Sheets

(2) How is CSS different than front-end web languages?

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CSS is a coding language that is concerned with the presentation, or visual appearance, of a webpage. HTML, on the other hand, is a markup language that establishes the content on a webpage. JavaScript, meanwhile, is used for creating user interactions.

Ready to Proceed?

Mark this lesson “Completed” if you are ready to proceed to the next lesson.