W3C Issues Associating Style Sheets with XML as a Recommendation

Allows XML to Leverage Display Power, Flexibility of CSS

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http://www.w3.org/ -- 29 June 1999 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today releases Associating Style Sheets with XML Documents as a W3C Recommendation, representing cross-industry and expert community agreement on the first efforts for allowing style sheets to be associated with an XML document, thus bringing a wider range of design and display options to XML authors. A W3C Recommendation indicates that a specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability, and has been reviewed by the W3C membership, who favor its adoption by the industry.

Bringing Style Capabilities to XML

Style sheet development and the separation of presentation information from the structure of a document has been a core W3C work area since its inception. Web publishers have been using style sheets written in the Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) language to flexibly enhance the display of Web pages written in HTML.

As more publishers discover the advantages of the rich information and customization capabilities of XML, they are making the transition from HTML to XML. "Style sheets are an essential step in XML deployment, as without them there is no way to define the presentation of XML documents which use new schemas," said Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director.

Delivering a Solution with Market Support

With more developers using XML, the need for quick and effective style control over XML documents has emerged. Vendors show strong interest in a timely specification to be included in product releases. The current W3C specification allows a style sheet to be linked by including one or more processing instructions with a target of "xml-stylesheet" in the prolog of the document.

"By designing a mechanism that is simple and leverages HTML, we have been able to deliver a recommendation that meets the immediate need for an interoperable way to combine the power of the W3C's XML and CSS recommendations," explained James Clark, editor of the specification.

Adobe, Microsoft, Netscape, Opera Software, and SoftQuad have products that support the new recommendation. Other vendors have promised to support the specification in upcoming products.

New Technology Development Underway

Work is already underway to develop technologies that will allow developers to place the style sheet link outside the XML document itself in ways that are extensible, self-documenting, and that can be validated. "We can now concentrate on developing a more sophisticated mechanism that takes advantage of ongoing W3C work in metadata, schemas, and linking," Clark continued.

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, reference code implementations to embody and promote standards, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, over 330 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see http://www.w3.org/