Web Style Sheets

(This page uses CSS style sheets)

What's new?

What are style sheets?

Press clippings

Styled software



JASS, dynamic HTML, dynamic style sheets?




"Leading and Margins and Fonts! Oh, Boy!"
--Patrick Corcoran, HotWired

What's new

What are style sheets?

Style sheets describe how documents are presented on screens, in print, or perhaps how they are pronounced. Style sheets are soon coming to a browser near you, and this page and its links will tell you all there is to know about style sheets.

By attaching style sheets to structured documents on the Web (e.g. HTML), authors and readers can influence the presentation of documents without sacrificing device-independence or adding new HTML tags.

Press clippings

If you are new to the subject, you may want to start by browsing recent press clippings on style sheets:


Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet mechanism that has been specifically developed to meet the needs of Web designers and users. A CSS style sheet can set fonts, colors, white space and other presentational aspects of a document.

The work on CSS started at CERN in 1994 and CSS1 became a W3C Recommendation in December 1996. CSS1 defines the language in which style sheets are written and a set of properties that designers can use to describe how documents should be presented. The properties in CSS1 cover the most common screen-based presentations. In addition to CSS1, several other CSS-based specifications are available:

For more information about W3C's current and future Style Sheets activities, see the Activity Page.

The Web Design Group has authored a comprehensive guide to CSS. Find out how style sheets can be abused.

CSS software: Browsers

None of the browsers above have full CSS1 support yet, but the situation should improve quickly during 1997.

For more information on CSS, see the CSS resource page.

CSS software: Authoring tools


Where CSS1 is simple, DSSSL is advanced. DSSSL, an ISO standard, is a document tree transformation and style language with many adherents in the SGML community.

It's a mistake to put DSSSL into the same bag as scripting languages. Yes, DSSSL is turing-complete; yes, it's a programming language. But a script language (at least the way I use the term) is procedural; DSSSL very definitely is not. DSSSL is entirely functional and entirely side-effect-free. Nothing ever happens in a DSSSL stylesheet. The stylesheet is one giant function whose value is an abstract, device-independent, nonprocedural description of the formatted document that gets fed as a specification of display areas to downstream rendering processes.
-- Jon Bosak

DSSSL resources on the Web:

JASS? Dynamic HTML? Dynamic style sheets?

Looking for information on Javascript Accessible Style Sheets? Dynamic HTML? Dynamic style sheets? W3C has received multiple proposals on web page scripting APIs from member organizations. None of these proposes new style sheets technology: they propose only to animate existing style sheets with scripting technology. The proposals fall under the HTML activity.

Historical Style Sheet proposals

The proposals are roughly in chronological order. They contain ideas that current proposals build upon, and serve as background material.

Related resources

Other approaches to putting style on the web

Last updated: $Date: 1997/03/04 15:20:02 $