IT350 - Web and Internet Programming

Lab 03 Bring on the Style


Web sites are meant to provide information, promote something, and/or attract users. Up till now, we have looked mostly at the structure of web pages. Now we will look at formatting an important additional aspect of good web site design. The techniques used in XHTML 1.1 are cascading style sheets (CSS). For this lab, dress up your site using CSS.

Part of the role of web author is to be creative, using the available tools. Again, this lab will be building on the pages you created last week. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you use a copy of the pages you created last week as the basis for this lab. At a minimum your Unit Home Page, event schedule and form from the previous labs are required and shall be adapted to CSS. In addition, your pages should convey a set purpose, be organized in such a way that it promotes that purpose, and be visually appealing.

Since the focus in this lab is on appearance, a larger than usual portion of your grade will depend upon aesthetics.

Lab Requirements

You must create a folder on your Web drive called "Lab03" (without the quotes) and store your work in that directory. (You are highly encouraged to copy your lab from last week into this directory and make changes to it there!).

1.     New style sheet: Create an external style sheet to contain a core set of styles used in all pages within this labs site. The name of the style sheet must be styles.css (without the quotes). At a minimum, define the following attributes in some element:






  margin-xxx (left, right, top, or bottom)

  border-style or border-color or border-width


2.     Existing HTML pages: modify all of your existing XHTML pages (that you have copied into the Lab03 directory) to link to the style sheet you created above. Then make any additional changes to each page so that the overall appearance is noticeably different now that the stylesheet has been added (hint: you dont necessarily have to modify the body of your page to achieve this, though it is fine to do so). Try to make use of CSS to make your pages more attractive and more functional.

3.     New HTML page: Create a new page, detail.html, that provides details about a specific fictitious event in your schedule. Ensure the page links to your schedule and provide a link from the schedule to the new page.

  Define at least two classes and apply styling using those classes

  Use span and div tags in styling

  Use a floating technique to put an image on the right side of a page and have text to the left

  Use inline styling in at least 2 places.

  Use the meta element to describe your new page.

4.     A user stylesheet. Users with disabilities, such as visual disabilities, may wish to modify the presentation of web pages to make them easier to read. One way to do this is with a user style sheet.

5.     Make a simple style sheet called userContent.css. Make it change the colors and sizes of parts of your page.

6.     Install the user style sheet in Firefox or Internet Explorer we recommend Internet Explorer for this. See instructions below:

For Internet Explorer:

Go to Tools - Internet Options

Click the Accessibility button in the General tab

Click the User Style Sheet check box and then browse to your style file

For Firefox:

Go to Help - Troubleshooting Information

In the Application Basics table click on "Open Containing Folder" button. That will open the folder where your profile is stored.

If there is no "chrome" folder, create one

Place your userContent.css in the chrome folder

7.     Verify that the new style sheet changes your page (for Firefox, you need to restart the browser after each change and it might need ! important after each rule see question 10 below. Results may vary with IE).

8.     Modify your stylesheets to enable you to answer the following questions:

9.     What happens if your user style sheet changes the font size of a <h1> element to x-large but the CSS built into the page sets the font size to 5pt? Which takes effect?

10.  Is the answer different if you add ! important (with no quotes) to the end of the font size rule in the user style sheet? (see ).

11.  Write the answers to these questions on the back of your assignment coversheet.

12.  Validation:Validate all of your XHTML files and your CSS file using the appropriate W3C validator.


Your web page must be constructed using Notepad or a similar text-only editor. The use of programs such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Frontpage, DreamWeaver, ColdFusion, Mozilla Composer, etc. will be considered an honor offense.

Extra Credit

For a nominal amount of extra credit do some/all of the following:

  1. Find an example of some bad use of CSS on the web where parts of the page are unreadable, confusing, cluttered, or just plain ugly. Add a link to this page to your default.htm page. Then, make a copy of the page (in your Lab03 directory) and modify it to improve its appearance by only changing CSS elements (whether inline, embedded, or external make a copy of the external style sheet and modify that if appropriate). Add a link to your improved page from your default.htm page, and next to this link include a brief description of what you changed.


  1. Your main web page should be called "index.html" (without the quotes).
  2. Your pages should contain all of the elements described in the requirements section above.
  3. All of your files should be in a folder called "Lab03" (without the quotes) on the Web drive. You are welcome (and highly encouraged) to copy your files from last week's lab into this directory. Your instructor will assume that your web pages are viewable at where XXXXXX is your alpha number. You may want to check that this URL is viewable and that everything works correctly from a computer where somebody else is logged in. If you've goofed and linked to a file on your X drive, this will help you catch it!
  4. The main student page of your web site (default.htm) must be modified to add a new link to Lab03/index.html
  5. Turn in the following hardcopy at the beginning of class on the due date, stapled together in the following order (coversheet on top):
    1. A completed assignment coversheet. Your comments will help us improve the course.
    2. On the back of your coversheet, answer the questions above related to user style sheets.
    3. The first page of the output of the W3C HTML validator, as run on the final version of your Lab03/detail.html. This should show that your document correctly validated, but turn it in anyway if you cant get your page to validate. Note: even though you are turning in validation results for only some of your pages, all pages are required to validate correctly.
    4. First page of the output of the CSS validator, as run on your final Lab03/styles.css file. This is a different validator, see (Note: you will have to use the File Upload option for this to work).
    5. A printout of the source to your Lab03/detail.html file (not the rendered page that you normally see with Internet Explorer).
    6. A printout of the source to your Lab03/styles.css.
    7. A printout of the source to your Lab03/userContent.css.

When finished, the structure of your web site should look like this: (items in blue shall undergo creation/modification during this lab)


default.htm (main page for the course; has links to each weeks lab)








index.html (modify to use CSS)

schedule.html (modify to use CSS)

form.html (modify to use CSS if you had this page from Lab 02)

detail.html (new page with details on one of your events and additional CSS styling)

styles.css (new stylesheet)

userContent.css (new stylesheet to be used by the user)