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The Bend, Oregon WordPress computer club discussed the post  CSS for Beginners is a Challenge for a few minutes and were totally unimpressed. They stated quite clearly that all of the things which were difficult about CSS were 85% handled in programs like Headway and another 10% by Stylebot. There wasn’t much need to know CSS, because it was all better handled by those programs and they didn’t require learning very much. I argued, rather feebly, that it made sense to know what was happening so it could be better controlled when things didn’t work out as planned. Also I maintained that the basics could be learned if the material were presented in the proper way, which emphasized getting a simple but working method up and running and then adding some more fundamental stuff in a second lesson, and then a few of the more refined options. But making it perfectly clear how the absolute essentials of the system were activated, before looking at the basic options.

These people were all advanced CSS users, but it appeared that the only time they looked at the CSS code was to tweak some details that their sophisticated programs provided. But, I asked, how can you tweak details if you don’t know the basics, let alone what the details mean and do? It seems to me that spending the time to learn the basics would be time well spent. This kind of discussion could go on for hours, but instead we took the short walk over to the Deschutes Brewery to resolve our opinions over some beer and hamburgers.

As things were developing, I decided it would make sense to follow in the footsteps of jimmyr and post a YouTube video on how to do basic CSS. These lessons will be very simple and create a single very basic CSS controlled page. The first lesson will be based on the CSS for Beginners is a Challenge which creates the simplest possible CSS controlled document. The second one will show how to put in the various values for the properties. The third will illustrate the types of Selectors.

These videos will be designed to reach a large audience and make the viewers capable of making a CSS controlled web page from memory. They learn super basic html and the fact you need a second document and some super basic CSS. But once a person can reliably do that from their own memory they know CSS and are no longer smothered by details. It then makes sense what a variable in each of the positions means. Once they understand what each of the general variables does, it becomes easy to understand what and where to insert the alternate ones. Once they know what they need it is only a problem of looking up the exact term in a CSS table.

A  video is worth a thousand pictures.