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JS vs CSS: What’s the difference? 4 talking points

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Building a website is a combined effort between two teams: front-end and back-end. The front-end takes care of the graphics, formats, and a dynamic or interactive layout. Languages involved in making front-ends include HTML, CSS, and JS. Meanwhile, the internal operations of a website are handled in the back-end.

For all the budding web developers out there, this article will give you a brief distinction between JS and CSS.

Also read: What’s the difference between HTML, XHTML and HTML5?

What are CSS and JS?

CSS and JS assist in styling by giving visual and dynamic functionality to a website, respectively.

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheet. It helps design a website with colour, font size, and spacing of the elements of languages like HTML, ASPX, PHP, and XML. Although a styling language that attracts users, CSS cannot work by itself; however, the language itself is easy to learn and can easily be embedded into your website’s code.

JS or JavaScript is a programming language, also known as a scripting language, that helps turn a static website into a dynamic webpage by providing forms, interactive displays, buttons and animations, among other things, that engage the visitor with suitable responses when clicked.

Also read: A quick dive into Apache Kafka

Differences between CSS and JS

Here are some major differences between CSS and JavaScript (JS).

To What End?

CSS caters to the client or user-facing end only, which means it can only be used in the front-end of a website. On the other hand, JavaScript caters to both client and server-side, which means it can also be used in the back-end alongwith the front-end by web developers. However, it is mainly used for front-end applications.

File Extensions

A CSS file can be saved as .css and is used in style tags within a page. Alternatively, you can also embed an external CSS file using the < link > tag. Here’s an example CSS snippet.

        height: 20px;
        color: red;

The CSS code mentioned above will make an HTML element with the element ID 20 pixels high and red.

A JavaScript file can be saved as .js and is used with script tags. You can use these same tags to link an external JS file by simply adding an src parameter to the script tag.

Use cases

As mentioned before, CSS can change the colour, layout, style, and place of HTML elements but not the element itself. You’ll mostly use CSS to style your web pages and add animations.

JavaScript, on the other hand, can do a lot more. Javascript libraries like React.js or Next.js can help developers create quick, responsive and dynamic web apps that work better than vanilla HTML/CSS/JS websites. You’ll mostly use JavaScript to add dynamic functionality and logic to your HTML pages.


While CSS and JS will work in most modern browsers, CSS doesn’t require any dependencies. Major browsers have the option to disable JavaScript, which can cause your website to load improperly, meaning your browser has to have JavaScript enabled for your website or web app to work correctly.


The way CSS and JS work together to beautify and enhance the visual and functional framework, you cannot choose one over the other. Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages. While you can build a website without entirely using JavaScript, you will have to use at least some CSS to get your HTML to look the way you want.

Stands for Cascading Style SheetStands for JavaScript. Not to be confused with Java (another programming language)
CSS attracts the users/consumers with its designs, layouts, and framework.JS engages the users/consumers with its dynamic functional controls and buttons that elicit a reaction when engaged.
It cannot work alone and needs another language, like HTML, XML, etc.It can work independently and merely enhances the language it works alongside. 
It is static.It makes a static HTML page dynamic.

Also read: What’s the difference between Java and Javascript?


Sania Usmani

Always curious, calm, and a little crazy, you can find me daydreaming or studying. An avid reader, traveler, and graduate of Aviation Science, I love gaining new experiences in life and star gazing. You can contact her here: [email protected]