Volume 16, Number 1, March 2000
By Edwin Bell
Over the course of the last two years, those who access the NSSDC home page may have noticed a slow transformation in its appearance. NSSDC strives in general to make its data and information as accessible as possible. Such easy accessibility means that NSSDC's pages are often more utilitarian than those of other sites. As browsers and Web standards have evolved, NSSDC has kept abreast of developments to enhance users' visits while not compromising accessibility. To that end NSSDC has begun to utilize a Web standard known as Cascading Style Sheets (or CSS).
One benefit of CSS is that its use makes (in the long run) NSSDC pages easier to maintain (much of the HTML is simplified) as well as to change. CSS's use of external style sheets (files that contain directions to the browser that specify font faces, styles, colors, indentations, margins, etc.) that can be used by groups of files promotes easier maintenance of Web pages. Should NSSDC wish to alter the appearance of its pages, then staff can make changes in one file, and those changes are immediately made on all pages using that style sheet. Style sheets can also be used in a sequential (cascading) manner to produce cumulative effects.
Use of style sheets also allows NSSDC's users more control over how its pages appear to them. Some browsers permit users to define their own style sheets to supplement or supplant NSSDC's style sheets. This ability can be of particular significance to those users who have special needs. More information about cascading style sheets is available from the following resources:
NASA home page GSFC home page GSFC organizational page