Learn About CSS3 and its Advantages

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Dear reader, CSS3 is becoming very popular now days because of its flexible as well as advanced coding features. Our expert writers have put constrain on CSS new features, usability, cross browser issues, and some of the common fundamental issues here in this article.

In this article you will be acquainted with CSS3 introduction, its modules, and some of the best advantages of CSS3 over CSS2. We are using some examples also on CSS3 that will make easy for you to grab every topic easily I hope you will enjoy reading it, and you can also use CSS3 features into your projects making that more revolutionary with CSS3 properties and selectors in your project style sheets.

What is CSS3?

CSS stands for ‘Cascading Style Sheets , and is a mark-up language used to give style to a website When the first CSS specification was published, all of CSS was contained in one file that defined CSS Level 1, Cascading Style Sheets does not have versions in the usual sense; instead it has been defined in levels.

CSS is a Cascading Style Sheets. CSS are those files which tell the web browsers how your web pages should look. HTML on the other hand is the base of any web page. Cascading Style Sheets as the name reflects provides you control over fonts, positions, background color and style etc. Moreover, CSS style sheets have made web designing very easier and less time consuming. With the advance of CSS3 and HTML5, the most important thing that has been noticed is that now adding a video to a web page has become easier.

Importance of CSS3

CSS3 is important for web designers as it provides vast range of options and enhances the creative opportunities of designing a webpage. Through web designing we can increase marketing of our products. From designing point of view your website should be so user friendly that visitors wish to visit your site frequently.

Why CSS3 is Useful?

Undoubtedly CSS3 plays a very vital role in web designing. CSS3 will obviously be completely backwards compatible, so it won’t be necessary to change existing designs to ensure they work – web browsers will always continue to support CSS2. CSS3 offers a bunch of new ways like you can write CSS rules with new CSS selectors, new combinators, and some new pseudo-elements. CSS3 also offers new tools for describing colors in document. HSL (Hue-Saturation-Lightness) is the newest addition to HSLA which includes an Alpha channel to reduce opacity.

Some Differences between CSS3 and CSS2

  • The main difference between CSS2 and CSS3 is that CSS3 has been break up into different sections, called modules. Each of these modules is making its way through the W3C in various stages of the recommendation process. CSS2 was submitted as a single document with all the Cascading Style Sheets information within it. Because each of the modules is being worked individually, we have a much wider range of browser support for CSS3 modules. As with any new specification, be sure to test your CSS3 pages thoroughly in as many browsers and operating systems as you can.
  • In CSS3, the box model hasn’t changed. But there are a bunch of new style properties that can help you style the backgrounds and borders of your boxes:

Multiple Background images

Using the background-image, background-position, and background-repeat styles you can specify multiple background images to be layered on top of one another in the box. The first image is the layer closest to the user, with the following ones painted behind. If there is a background color, it is painted below all the image layers. Moreover all the different background properties can be used as one just use background and start defining rest.

3 New Background Style Properties

There are also some new background properties in CSS3 :

  • Background-clip – This property defines how the background image should be clipped. The default is the border box, but it can be changed to the padding box or the content box.
  • Background-origin – This property determines whether the background should be placed in the padding box, the border box, or the content box.
  • Background-size – This property allows you to indicate the size of the background image. It allows you to stretch smaller images to fit the page. Except for using sizes in pixels you can use cover, contain and other properties to make the background size responsive without setting it manually for every screen size.

CSS3 Border Properties

In CSS3, borders can be the styles we’re used to (solid, double, dashed, etc.) or they can be an image. Plus, CSS3 brings in the ability to create rounded corners. Border images are interesting because you create an image of all four borders and then tell the CSS how to apply that image to your borders. Border radius property allows us to make circle if the width and height are equal of that element. The value used for making it circle is 50%.

Few Benefits of CSS3 over CSS2

I hope it’s now clear why progressive improvement is not only acceptable but proved to be good. The advantages of using CSS3 over alternative, older techniques extends far beyond just how cool CSS3 can make your pages look— though that’s certainly not a benefit to be ignored, CSS3 allows you to create some really beautiful effects, adding a layer of polish and richness to your web designs.

  • To use new selectors and properties which are available. These will allow you to both achieve new design features (animation or gradients for instance), and achieve current design features in a much easier way (e.g. using columns).
  • The CSS3 benefit over CSS2 is for rounded corners and drop-shadow effects to be rendered in-browser.
  • CSS3 also offers new tools for describing colors in-document. HSL (Hue-Saturation-Lightness) is the newest addition to HSLA which includes an Alpha channel to reduce opacity. Regardless you should always use color in hexa-decimals.

Use of Browser Related Specifications:

Before using many of CSS3 properties it is recommended to use vendor-specific extensions including the original properties. According to W3C, CSS3 is not included in their standard, in spite of that many browsers are giving their support to the new features. You can see below the reference link for new CSS3 properties and their browser support: http://www.w3schools.com/cssref/css3_browsersupport.asp

Cross Browser CSS

We know that Cross-browser compatibility is an ever time issue. But here we will see how CSS3 manage to overcome this problem? CSS3 Panel and CSS3 Generator are the Tools, allowed for an uncomplicated design process where developers enter a value which is quickly synched with each vendor-specific prefix. Then corresponding code is generated automatically.

For Internet Explorer, the advancement of classes and selectors is also one of the reasons that make CSS3 preferable then CSS2. The future of CSS3 is definitely bright.
While there are advantages, some disadvantages also occur as well a confused style sheet and conflicting design across Web browsers. Entirely, we are not going to regenerate the requirement for proprietary browser hacks in our style sheets.

Advance Modules of CSS3:

CSS3 is divided into “modules”. Previous specifications of CSS are divided into smaller pieces, and latest ones are also added.
Below are the most important modules of CSS3:

  • Advance Selectors
  • Box Model
  • Backgrounds and Borders
  • Some Text Effects
  • 2D/3D Transformations
  • Animations
  • Multiple Column Layout
  • User Interface

Use of CSS3 Selectors:

We have to be able to target an element for styling it with CSS. Going to CSS selectors and using advance CSS selectors we can attain nice, lightweight markup and good division of structure and display. It will result in reducing the number of classes and IDs in the markup and helps designers to maintain a style sheet.
Below are 3 new attribute selectors of CSS3 specifications:

  • [att^=”value”] Matches elements to an attribute that starts with the specified value.
  • [att$=”value”] Matches elements to an attribute that ends with the specified value.
  • [att*=”value”] Matches elements to an attribute that contains the specified value.

CSS3 Box Model feature:

The CSS3 Flexible Box Layout module was introduced in July 2009 and has been almost completely re-written in this latest update to the specification. As compared to the previous draft, this model has changed considerably. In particular, flexibility is no longer a separate property and expressed in the value of various properties that accept lengths. This is consists of Margin, Border and Padding in the very same order.

CSS3 Backgrounds and Borders Module:

CSS3 Backgrounds and Borders module is background-size. This new added property of CSS3 using either lengths, percentages, or by using one of two keywords; contain or cover. Browser support has grown of late, with the current versions of most popular browsers now supporting background-size, including Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Opera, without the need for vendor prefixes.

CSS 3.0 provides many new options for the borders around HTML elements. It includes some new color options to control the color better. This option allows specify an image to be used for a border, a new shadow option to add a drop-shadow, and rounded corners.

CSS3 New Text Effects:

Text-shadow is not a widely used CSS2 property. But it will most likely to be widely adopted with CSS3. Designers get a new cross-browser tool to add dimension to their designs and have text stand out. You should confirm that the content in your design is readable in case the user’s browser doesn’t support advanced CSS3 properties. One should give the text and background color enough contrast in case the text-shadow property isn’t rendered or understood properly by the browser.

Want to know about creating fancy headings without rendering each heading with Photoshop?

Here is a trick to make text to make text like the above image. First you need to choose a font that looks good then use these CSS properties

  • font-size
  • text-align
  • text-shadow

and you are good to go.

2D/3D Transformations:

Opera has issued a pre-alpha release of Opera 10.5 offering increased support for CSS3 and HTML5 as well as vastly increased JavaScript performance and improvements to the browser’s user interface.

Based on Opera’s Presto 2.5 rendering engine, Opera 10.5 adds CSS3 Transitions and 2D Transforms to the long list of CSS3 properties already supported by the browser as well as increased support for CSS3 Backgrounds and Borders. As CSS3 Transitions and 2D Transforms are still at the working draft stage of development at present you’ll need to use the ‘-o-‘ prefix in your style sheets for the time being.

CSS3 Animations Module:

Before using animations these properties are supported, although you have to use the -moz- prefix for the time being:

  • animation-delay,
  • animation-direction,
  • animation-iteration-count,
  • animation-name,
  • animation-play-state,
  • animation-timing-function

Since February 2009 webkit based browsers is supporting CSS3 Animations (eg. Safari/Chrome), although as with Firefox a prefix is required, in this case the -webkit- prefix.

Using Multi-Column Layout without multi Divs:

Using CSS3 selector you attain multi-column layouts without inserting multiple divs. A newspaper-like flow in the text and columns create by the browser interpretation of the property.

  • .index #content div { -webkit-column-count : 5;
  • webkit-column-gap : 21px;
  • moz-column-count : 5;
  • moz-column-gap : 21px; }

User Interface

In CSS3 we will find some new properties concerning to resizing elements, cursors, outlining, box layout and more. We’re focusing on three of the most significant user interface enhancements here:

  • Resize – The resize property is supported in Firefox 4+, Chrome, and Safari.
  • Box-sizing – With this property one can change the behavior of the browser in calculating the width of an element.
  • Outline-offset – This property offsets an outline, and draws it beyond the border edge.

Want to know how HTML and CSS work together to form a web page ? Click Here!

CSS3 Recommendation by W3C:

W3C is still considering CSS3 specification. CSS3 working drafts and candidate recommendations are in progress. One can get an update about the upcoming version of CSS. Some newer browsers even support a few of the features. Before the finalization of these modules W3C also welcomes and invites feedback.
Here are several reasons that CSS is divided into modules:

  • One module can easily be updated, speeding up the turnaround time and allowing greater flexibility;
  • User agents can also choose to support specific modules, such as an aural browser with constraints and only needing aural CSS specifications
  • To make clear relationships between various parts of the specifications and to reduce the overall size of the document.

The fundamental problems with CSS3

With the launch of the new CSS3, we’ll see its practical use case The core of the issue is that W3C always try to provide high-level “solutions” instead of low-level options. With the CSS3 WG strategy as it’s been over the last decade, they have to look at all of the problem points I proposed above, and it come up with a module to provide a solution to each one of them.

But by giving CSS an ability to traverse and manipulate the DOM, web designers can build out own solutions to all of them, and innumerable other issues that we are facing right now, and in near future.


CSS3 is the programming language used to stylize the web page. This is stylization is achieved by using different CSS properties. The new version of CSS gave the developers to use other ways to target any HTML elements in the webpage along with some new properties related to background which are specially for adding an image in the background.

Interested in learning CSS3? If yes then should definitely check out our HTML5 & CSS3 course. This course is being offered by one of the best web design training institutes in Delhi and covers highly professional training from industry experts.

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