Setting the default style sheet language on your Web site

Very often Web creators are using an external style sheet, or a style element to add style information to their html pages. By doing, we specify what is the style language used in the Web page. For example using the `link` element.

<link href="cute.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"/>

But if your page is using the style attribute, the user agent may not know what is the language used for styling. This is a principle of orthogonality. A company could launch a user agent with a new style language and a new mime-type. It will be difficult to impose and ensure interoperability because of the deployment base, but it is still possible.

If you want to set up a default style sheet language for your Web site, there are a few choices. You can use a meta name in each of your page:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Style-Type" content="text/css"/>

or you can specify an HTTP header:

Content-Style-Type: text/css

With Apache http server 2.0, you can use mod_headers and mod_setenvif in the general configuration file or at a directory level in .htaccess:

SetEnvIf response Content-Type  html-content=1
Header add "Content-Style-Type: text/css" env=html-content

PS: mod_headers and mod_setenvif are not activated in the base configuration of Apache httpd, you have to activate them.

Examples given for xhtml documents served as application/xhtml+xml

4 thoughts on “Setting the default style sheet language on your Web site

  1. It is probably worth fixing the code examples to make them conform to Appendix C of XHTML 1.0. The space before the / is missing.

    I also suggest removing the word ‘only’ from second paragraph. Linking to a style sheet written in one language doesn’t mean that the style attributes are going to be using the same language, does it?

    You might also want to link to the relevant section of the specification.

  2. Hi David,

    I have added a PS explaining the examples were XHTML served as application/xhtml+xml.

    And fixed the only. Note that the user agents default to text/css anyway.

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