In the earlier days of this book, I've given you a taste of how to use cascading style sheets. You didn't get the full flavor because I used them only within the context of the style attribute of tags. Today, I discussed how you can create actual style sheets either as part of a page or as a standalone file that can be included by any page. I also moved beyond properties that discuss text formatting to explain how to use CSS to lay out an entire page.
CSS provides a better alternative to tables, transparent single-pixel GIFs, and other old techniques that have been relied on to gain control over how pages are laid out. By understanding how browsers render pages and how you can affect that process using CSS, you can achieve the effects you want without writing loads of markup that's difficult to understand and maintain.