Web Development

CSS vs CSS3: Difference Between CSS and CSS3

Published: 12th December, 2023

Arpit Mehar

Content Developer Associate at almaBetter

Explore the evolution of web styling with our insightful guide on the Difference Between CSS and CSS3. Delve into the fundamental disparities and key features.

Welcome to our in-depth exploration, deciphering the intricacies of "CSS vs CSS3" and shedding light on the "difference between CSS3 and CSS". In Web Development, understanding the evolution from CSS to CSS3 is pivotal. This guide aims to unravel the distinct characteristics, functionalities, and enhancements that define "CSS3 vs CSS". Join us on this journey as we dissect the evolution of cascading style sheets, exploring how CSS3 revolutionizes the web design landscape. Whether you're a seasoned developer seeking clarity or a newcomer navigating the intricacies of styling languages, this comprehensive breakdown will elucidate the key disparities, empowering you to leverage the strengths of both CSS and CSS3 for dynamic and visually captivating web experiences.

What is CSS?

Before we explore CSS2 vs CSS3, let’s understand what CSS is.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a programming language used to define the presentation and style of a web page written in markup languages such as HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and XML (eXtensible Markup Language). It controls web documents' layout, design, colors, fonts, and overall appearance. CSS allows web developers to separate the content of a webpage from its visual representation, enabling greater control and flexibility in designing and formatting web pages. Using CSS, developers can apply styles consistently across multiple website pages, enhancing the user experience and facilitating easier site design maintenance.

What is CSS3?

Now that we have a clear understanding of CSS, let’s explore CSS3 before we move on to the difference between CSS3 and CSS.

CSS3 is the latest evolution of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), building upon the foundations laid by its predecessors, CSS and CSS2. It introduces many new features, enhancements, and capabilities to the web design and development world. CSS3 extends the styling possibilities, allowing developers to create more sophisticated and visually appealing web pages with greater ease and flexibility.

Difference Between CSS3 and CSS

Enhancements and FeaturesLimited featuresWide range of new features and enhancements
Modularity and SelectorsLess modularity and specificityGreater modularity and specificity in selectors
Media Queries and Responsive DesignLimited support for responsive designIntroduces media queries for responsive design
CompatibilityGenerally backward compatibleNew features may not be supported in older browsers
Evolution and DevelopmentBase versionLatest evolution, building upon CSS principles

What is The Difference Between CSS and CSS3

As we learned, CSS3 and CSS refer to different versions of the Cascading Style Sheets language used in Web Development. Here are the primary differences between the two:

Enhancements and Features: CSS3 is an advancement over CSS. It introduces a wide range of new features and enhancements not present in earlier versions of CSS. These additions include new selectors, advanced layout techniques like Flexbox and Grid, transitions, animations, rounded borders, gradients, text effects, and more.

Modularity and Selectors: CSS3 introduces greater modularity and specificity in selectors, allowing developers to target HTML elements more precisely with new attribute selectors, pseudo-classes, and pseudo-elements. This specificity aids in applying styles to elements based on various criteria, making styling more granular and targeted.

Media Queries and Responsive Design: CSS3 brought about media queries, enabling responsive web design by allowing developers to apply different styles based on device characteristics or screen size. This feature wasn’t as robustly supported in earlier versions of CSS, making CSS3 crucial for building modern, responsive websites.

Compatibility: CSS3 is backward compatible with CSS, meaning CSS code will generally work in CSS3-compliant browsers. However, new features and functionalities introduced in CSS3 might not be supported in older browsers that do not fully support CSS3 specifications.

Evolution and Development: CSS3 is an evolution of CSS. It's not a completely separate language but an extended and updated version that builds upon the principles and syntax of CSS. As web standards evolve, CSS continues to see updates and refinements in the form of newer versions, with CSS3 being a significant milestone in this progression.


In conclusion, exploring the distinctions between CSS and its evolved counterpart, CSS3, unveils the dynamic evolution within web design and development. While CSS laid the foundation for styling web pages, CSS3 is a transformative milestone, introducing an extensive array of features and capabilities that redefine the possibilities of creating visually stunning and responsive websites.

The enhancements in CSS3, including new selectors, advanced layout techniques, animations, transitions, and responsive design elements, have empowered developers to craft engaging, adaptable, and aesthetically pleasing web experiences. The modularity, precision, and flexibility offered by CSS3 signify a significant leap forward from its predecessor, allowing for more granular control over styling and layout.

Moreover, CSS3's responsiveness to various devices and screen sizes through media queries has revolutionized web design, enabling seamless adaptation to the ever-diverse landscape of devices and user preferences.

As web standards continue to evolve, understanding the differences and capabilities of CSS3 versus CSS remains pivotal for web developers and designers. Embracing the strengths and nuances of both CSS versions enables the creation of websites that meet modern standards and captivate audiences with immersive, visually appealing experiences across diverse platforms.

While CSS paved the way for styling web content, CSS3 emerges as a powerful catalyst, enriching the web development landscape with its vast array of innovative features and setting the stage for a more creative and responsive digital future.

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