HTML and CSS Web Design
The aim of this site is to provide all the information you need to build web pages and sites using the two most fundamental languages used in Web design today, HTML and CSS.
If you are totally new to website design please read the before you start page which briefly discusses how the Web works, what you need to construct your pages and the steps involved in getting your site online.
Originally conceived in 1990 by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) has evolved over the past 23 years into one of the main building blocks of the modern Internet. The current version of the language, HTML 4.01, was introduced way back in 1999 and all the elements included in the specification are listed on the HTML4 Elements page with links to pages giving a detailed description and examples of the element in use.
The next generation of the language, HTML5, is currently under development with some elements already being used on the Web - but it will not be officially released as a finished version until 2014 at the earliest.
HTML5 contains a number of new elements and many new 'Global Attributes' which were not part of HTML4. Detailed definitions of the new elements can be found at HTML5 new elements, and the list of 'global attributes' is listed on the HTML5 global attributes page.
Please bear in mind that HTML5 is a work in progress and elements and attributes may well be added or removed before the final version becomes a full W3C specification.
There are also some elements which are common to both HTML4 and HTML5 but whose definition has been altered between the 2 specifications - these are detailed here: HTML5 changed elements.
We check the W3C editors' draft on a weekly basis to ensure that the information given on this site is as up to date as possible.
CSS - Cascading Style Sheets
HTML was developed as a way to define the structure of a page and was a great leap forward when first introduced, but as time passed the function of websites evolved from one of purely providing information to one of engaging with and retaining Internet users. With the growth of the Web websites had become a shop window onto the products and services offered by site owners.
This new purpose of websites meant that they needed to be more user friendly and more visually appealing something which HTML wasn't really designed for and CSS was developed as a response to this need.
CSS allows the designer to separate the content of the site from the presentation side of things - HTML deals with the structure of the page and CSS makes this structure look good - it styles the pages.
CSS Level 1 was released as a W3C Recommendation in December 1996 with Level 2 following fairly swiftly after in May 1998.
The current version of the language CSS 2.1 was adopted as a standard in June 2011 and you can find all the properties with links to example usage on our CSS 2.1 Properties page.
Versions of CSS up to and including CSS 2.1 have been released as a single specification in one go, detailing all aspects of the language. With CSS3 the language has become so large and complex that the decision was made to split it up into a series of 'Modules', each of which, provides the details for a different part of the language.
These modules are being worked on and released independently of each other meaning that some of CSS3 has already been approved to join the CSS specification whilst other parts are in the early stages of development - please see the CSS3 Introduction page for more information.
Articles And Tutorials
In addition to element definitions for HTML4 and HTML5 and discussion of CSS2.1 and CSS3 properties we also have an ever growing list of articles and tutorials covering all aspects of Web design.
The list of tutorials currently include designing your first HTML page, converting a list into horizontal navigation using CSS, how to add a favicon to your site and the use of conditional comments for IE to cope with earlier versions of Internet Explorer.
CSS3 media queries became a W3C recommendation in June 2012 and they are explained here: CSS3 Media Queries.