Before your begin:
Before you begin, it's important that you know Windows or Unix. A working knowledge of Windows or Unix makes it much easier to learn HTML.
You should be familiar with:
Basic word processing using any text editor.
How to create directories and files.
How to navigate through different directories.
Basic understanding on internet browsing using a browser like Internet Explorer or Firefox etc.
Basic understanding on developing simple Web Pages using HTML or XHTML.
If you are new to HTML and XHTML then I would suggest you to go through our HTML Tutorial or XHTML Tutorial. Anyone of HTML or XHTML is enough to proceed.
What is CSS?
Cascading Style Sheets, fondly referred to as CSS, is a simple design language intended to simplify the process of making web pages presentable.
CSS handles the look and feel part of a web page. Using CSS, you can control the color of the text, the style of fonts, the spacing between paragraphs, how columns are sized and laid out, what background images or colors are used, as well as a variety of other effects.
CSS is easy to learn and understand but it provides powerful control over the presentation of an HTML document. Most commonly, CSS is combined with the markup languages HTML or XHTML.
Advantages of CSS:
CSS saves time - You can write CSS once and then reuse same sheet in multiple HTML pages. You can define a style for each HTML element and apply it to as many Web pages as you want.
Pages load faster - If you are using CSS, you do not need to write HTML tag attributes every time. Just write one CSS rule of a tag and apply to all the occurrences of that tag. So less code means faster download times.
Easy maintenance - To make a global change, simply change the style, and all elements in all the web pages will be updated automatically.
Superior styles to HTML - CSS has a much wider array of attributes than HTML so you can give far better look to your HTML page in comparison of HTML attributes.
Multiple Device Compatibility - Style sheets allow content to be optimized for more than one type of device. By using the same HTML document, different versions of a website can be presented for handheld devices such as PDAs and cell phones or for printing.
Global web standards - Now HTML attributes are being deprecated and it is being recommended to use CSS. So its a good idea to start using CSS in all the HTML pages to make them compatible to future browsers.
Who Creates and Maintains CSS?
CSS is created and maintained through a group of people within the W3C called the CSS Working Group. The CSS Working Group creates documents called specifications. When a specification has been discussed and officially ratified by W3C members, it becomes a recommendation.
These ratified specifications are called recommendations because the W3C has no control over the actual implementation of the language. Independent companies and organizations create that software.
NOTE: The World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C is a group that makes recommendations about how the Internet works and how it should evolve.
Cascading Style Sheets, level 1 (CSS1) was came out of W3C as a recommendation in December 1996. This version describes the CSS language as well as a simple visual formatting model for all the HTML tags.
CSS2 was became a W3C recommendation in May 1998 and builds on CSS1. This version adds support for media-specific style sheets e.g. printers and aural devices, downloadable fonts, element positioning and tables.
About this Tutorial:
This tutorial covers both versions CSS1 and CSS2 and teaches you CSS starting from basic concepts to advanced concepts. So now start from next chapter and finish it till end to become master in CSS.
I would recommend you to bookmark CSS References chapter for easy access.