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HTML5: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Chapter 8. Boosting Styles with CSS3

It would be almost ludicrous to build a modern website without CSS. The standard is fused into the fabric of the Web almost as tightly as HTML. Whether you’re laying out pages, building interactive buttons and menus, or just making things look pretty, CSS is a fundamental tool. In fact, as HTML has increasingly shifted its focus to content and semantics (Introducing the Semantic Elements), CSS has become the heart and soul of web design.

Along the way, CSS has become far more detailed and far more complex. When CSS evolved from its first version to CSS 2.1, it quintupled in size, reaching the size of a modest novel. Fortunately, the creators of the CSS standard had a better plan for future features. They carved the next generation of enhancements into a set of separate standards, called modules. That way, browser makers were free to implement the most exciting and popular parts of the standard first—which is what they were already doing, modules or not. All together, the new CSS modules fall under the catchall name CSS3 (note the curious lack of a space, as with HTML5).

CSS3 has roughly 50 modules in various stages of maturity. They range from features that provide fancy eye candy (like rich fonts and animation) to ones that serve a more specialized, practical purpose (for example, speaking text aloud or varying styles based on the capabilities of the computer or mobile device). Altogether, they include features that are reliably supported in the ...

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