An Update on CSS 2.1

So where are we (that “we” meaning the CSS Working Group) on CSS 2.1? In short, we’re making fast and excellent progress:

  • we are currently resolving the last outstanding issues ; almost all our weekly conference calls are entirely dedicated to CSS 2.1
  • the Test Suite is near completion ; the Working Group has decided, given the size of the Test Suite, that it’s not realistic to review individually all tests before saying the Test Suite is completed. We will declare the Test Suite ready for implementation reports and will fix individual bugs when reported buggy by testers, browser vendors, the community, whoever. On a more personal note, I think it’s the only reasonable way of dealing with a Test Suite that contains thousands and thousands of tests, some of them rather complex not only to write but also to understand when you read them. Otherwise, the review and validation process of all these tests alone will take ages…
  • given the recent changes in the spec – we resolved a lot of issues some of them pretty complicated – we may have to go back to Last Call Working Draft and then back to CR again. That’s not a problem and can be relatively fast.
  • the current CR exit criteria – that we don’t plan to change – are very clear (see conditions 4 and 5). The CR period could be a bit long though; we’ll see.
  • the Test Suite and the CR should be available at same time and that time should be, as planned by the WG, after the summer. That should leave us enough time to reach Proposed Recommendation before the end of the year, as expected.

To the people who could complain about the duration of this process and the time needed to make this spec appear as a REC, let me say that we have a lot, really a lot of work here. The WG focuses almost solely on CSS 2.1 at this time and that’s not recent. 2.1 must be released as a Web Standard because that’s one of the current cornerstones of the architecture of the World Wide Web. We cannot make the next steps, CSS 3 even module by module, happen without 2.1 before.

In summary, we’re on track. As expected. No reason to worry.


Daniel Glazman, W3C CSS Working Group, Co-chair

11 thoughts on “An Update on CSS 2.1

  1. Generally spoken: It takes too long before the next REC is out! In this case, the old REC is 22 (!) years old! Nobody can tell me that it takes that long! HTML confronts us with the same problem. It isn’t acceptable that web authors have to wait over 20 years for improvements!

    1. @Alex: 22 years?? Where did you get that? CSS 2 is 12 years old, not 22, that’s a bit of a difference… Anyway, it’s not as if we did nothing in the meantime… Large parts of CSS 3 are also near completion, just to mention WG’s work during that time.
      On the 2.1 side, you must understand that 2.1 is not only a stabilized version of CSS 2, but it also reflects the browser implementation of parts of the spec that were underspecified, erroneous or needed clarification…

  2. Nice one! We also used the same approach for tests in the widget test suite: Implementers fund mistakes in tests very quickly. Also, how about splitting the CSS 2.1 spec into smaller sub specs? That way, parts that are stable and implemented can go to REC? just a thought.

    1. @Marcos: this is something we have recently discussed but not for 2.1. We really need to make 2.1 happen as a whole in 2010, at least in PR. For CSS 3 modules and beyond, and in large parts because of features like ages-old -*-border-radius, the possibilities we discuss include: ability to declare a given feature “ready for implementations”, extract the stable and standalone parts of the a draft into a sub-draft able to move faster along the REC track. I think this is exactly what you proposed in your comment.

  3. Will the source of the Test Suite be available to the public? There are several people who would love to bug fix, and those who post changes/patches could very well do your work for you!

    While I’m in love with CSS3, it doesn’t have to be the standard for me to use it. Genuinely 3-Dimensional JavaScript games, here we come!

  4. after watching these all conversations:

    the css 2.1 is going on… right?

    the css3 is still in process…?

    would you guys make it clear… :)

  5. I’m wondering which “outstanding issues” do you encounter. Pure curiosity :)

  6. I too am having the same question as Mufeed, especially after reading a conversation with Microsoft by someone at W3C.

  7. Can someone spread some light on what the outstanding issues are that are reference

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