CSS Fundamentals

This series of articles will explain how CSS works in simple language. It will not describe individual properties in detail, or tell you how to attain a specific layout. However, it will explain why those properties work the way they do. This includes:

  • The absolute basics: what CSS is and how it is used
  • Selectors: methods used to 'select' HTML elements for styling
  • Data types: units used for numbers, lengths, colours, and URL's
  • The cascade and inheritance, which determines which CSS elements apply to a particular element
  • The document tree (parent-child relationships etc.)
  • Element types, which describes how the basic element types are displayed (inline, block, table etc.)
  • The box model, which determines how block-level elements are displayed
  • The document flow, which explains how layout properties can affect the display of a page 
  • Media types, which allow you to include different rule sets for different media (e.g. screen, print)
Megan McDermott's picture

About the Author

Megan is co-founder and editor of A Padded Cell and administrator at The Webmaster Forums. She has been designing websites since 1997, with expertise in design, information architecture, usability, HTML/CSS, Drupal theming, and more. Megan is also a partner and co-founder of Woolwich Web Works: A small team that can do big things!