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Should We Use CSS2 or CSS3?

Ok, What are You Talking About?

Do you mind if we get a little technical for a minute? As you're aware, website technology is always evolving. Things change and usually for the better. The goal with website development today is for websites to load quickly and work anywhere. As this happens, old standards and ways of doing things have to be purged and won't be used any more.

As the standards change, old web browsers have to change as well. This is why some websites today simply won't work on old web browsers any more. The websites aren't backwards compatible with those browsers unless a lot of work is put into making websites work with old web browsers. This seems to be especially true with the Internet Explorer web browser - Microsoft does things a lot different than browsers like Firefox, Chrome and Safari where things are less backwards compatible.

When doing website development now, we as developers are given a choice... do we create the website with old standards in mind or do we go forward using the new standards where our clients get the benefit of their websites loading faster and working better on more mobile devices that are out there? In our mind, we'll choose the latter... have websites load quickly and work with more of the latest devices. We do understand that you may have reasons why you want your website to work on older browsers though.

This article covers some of the advantages and disadvantages of coding to newer or older standards.

CSS refers to Cascading Style Sheets and they do a lot of things for a website. They are part of the design and control layout:

CSS is designed primarily to enable the separation of document content (written in HTML or a similar markup language) from document presentation, including elements such as the layout, colors, and fonts. (Wikipedia.org)

Old Standard: CSS2

CSS2 is old and isn't used much anymore except if you want to have a website show up well in Internet Explorer 8 (IE8). Microsoft has upgraded their browser to IE9 and CSS3 is supported there.

CSS2 is often combined with plain old JavaScript, which is old now, not as fast and requires more code (bluky / loads more slowly).

New Standard: CSS3

With CSS3, there's something called jQuery that is supported (instead of just using JavaScript). You can do a lot of cool things with jQuery and it's now the standard. It does more than just control layout, there's functionality built in. It's also lightweight and that means less code is needed - things load more quickly. Google even maintains the code so it can be called from Google's libraries, which are fast.

There are a lot of plugins avaiable for jQuery - here's a page showing 50 of them:


We're not saying that we're going to use these plugins but it's just an example.

Browser Compatibility

If you really want to see how each web browser stacks up, here's a good comparison chart.

The Bottom Line

What we need to know from you is: how important is it that people still using IE8 can still view your website?

We can code your website for IE9 or for IE8 and IE9. Another option would be to code it for IE9 and then show a message to people using IE8 that they should upgrade. To code for both IE8 and IE9 will mean more work and we can quote doing this for you as it's extra work (work we do NOT include in the proposal you received).

So again, here are your choices:

  1. Code your website using CSS3 for IE9 (and above) and the other latest browsers (Firefox, Chrome and Safari). We will include a note for IE8 users that they need to upgrade.
  2. Code your website using CSS2 for IE8 (and above) and the other latest browsers (Firefox, Chrome and Safari) knowing that your website will load a bit more slowly because of the extra code. We will also have to quote you for this work.

Please respond to the email we sent you that lead you to this page and let us know which option you would like.


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