Is CSS suited to this?
I have two beginners' questions:
1) I can set up "containers" for different pages to contain the header, footer, and panels.... but do these containers have to be rectangular? Can a container be oval? How do I experiment with that?
2) Will CSS let me use layers? It's easy enough to have a header, left panel, right panel, and footer areas, but can I place a fifth(?) element so that it's positioned 'over' the other four?
1. that is not what a container is, the container is just a div that holds all the other divs and helps to structure the website
2. z-index, position: absolute, position: relative, float: left, and float: right will allow you to do this