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Textured Background

The BODY BACKGROUND tag enables the browser to repeat a small graphic and turn it into a full-screen graphic. It accomplishes this effect by taking a single image and tiling it, creating a repeating image that will fill any size screen regardless of computer platform and browser area. The browser needs to load only a single source file for the pattern, and once it's downloaded, it fills the entire Web page. This saves time because the wait time is for a single small image, even though the result is that the entire screen fills with an image. Repeated tiles are a great solution for creating full-screen graphics for low-bandwidth delivery systems such as the Web.

Bandwidth limitations aren't the only problem that tiled background patterns solve. One of the great frustrations most web designers share is HTML's inability to allow for images to be layered. If you consider that layering is a main feature of programs such as Photoshop, QuarkXPress, and PageMaker, you will understand why this feature in HTML is sorely missed. Cascading Style Sheets are the answer to some designer's layering needs, but using tiled background patterns is still a much easier and more backwards compatible method to achieve layering multiple images.

HTML allows text, links, and images to go on top of tiled backgrounds, making it an extremely useful and economical design element. The HTML code for this tiling effect is quite simple. The real challenge is making the art look good and controlling whether the seams of each repeated image are obvious or invisible.

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