World Wide Web Consortium Publishes Public Draft of CSS2

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Key Industry Players Join Efforts to Enable Designers to Create Richer, More Dynamic Content for the Web



SOPHIA-ANTIPOLIS, FRANCE -- 4 November, 1997 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today announced the first public working draft of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) 2, which adds style to content to produce Web pages. "The release of CSS2 highlights the collaborative process within W3C Working Groups," said Chris Lilley, Chair of the W3C Cascading Style Sheets and Formatting Properties (CSS&FP) Working Group. "By working together to design, refine, and document a new level of style sheet support for the Web, W3C Members show the practical benefits to be gained from having an agreed common foundation on which to differentiate their products in the marketplace." The W3C CSS&FP Working Group includes key industry players such as Adobe, Bitstream, CWI, Electricité de France, Grif S.A., Hewlett-Packard, IBM, JavaSoft, Microsoft, Netscape, Novell, and SoftQuad.

"CSS2 will allow designers to create richer, more dynamic content for the Web," said Håkon Lie, lead architect of W3C's CSS Activity. "At the same time, pages using CSS will transfer faster to users and are easier to maintain."

CSS gives content creators, designers and readers the power tools they need to realize the full potential of the their HTML and XML documents. CSS2 adds enhancements in several areas to make the Web more appealing for both content providers and users:


  • Positioned Elements allow greatly improved control over document layout; both on screen and in print
  • Downloadable Fonts give designers the typographic diversity they require without resorting to slow-to-load images
  • Aural Cascading Style Sheets (ACSS) empower visually disabled users by applying style sheets to oral presentations
  • Enhanced Printing Facilities improve printing from the Web


The CSS2 Working Draft is based upon CSS1, a W3C Recommendation issued in December 1996. The Recommendation signifies that the CSS1 specification is stable, contributes to Web interoperability, supported for industry-wide adoption by all W3C Member organizations, and provides a solid foundation for CSS2. Key software vendors, including Adobe, Grif, Macromedia, mBED, Microsoft, Netscape, and SoftQuad have CSS1-compliant products; providing the powerful, sophisticated solutions Web designers have been longing for.

CSS2 is designed to compliment HTML4.0 and XML, and is prerequisite for the Document Object Model (DOM), W3C's platform- and language-neutral interface which allows programs and scripts to dynamically access and update the content, structure and style of documents. "CSS2, in combination with HTML and XML, fulfills the old dream of separating content from its presentation. This is a big boost for accessibility, maintainability and performance on the Web," said Bert Bos, CSS co-architect at W3C .

The separation of style and content allows a single style sheet to define the style for an entire website, thus eliminating the typically repeated duplication of unnecessary presentational information. The result is shorter documents, which in turn, load faster. A recent W3C study showed that when used in tandem, W3C innovations in CSS along with Portable Network Graphics (PNG) and HTTP/1.1, can dramatically reduce page download times and ease the load on the global Internet.

In continuing the W3C goal of ensuring a truly World Wide Web, the members of the W3C CSS&FP Working Group incorporated the expertise of leading experts on internationalization and fonts. To accommodate internationalization, CSS2 fully supports the international ISO 10646 character set, allowing authors to manage differences in language, text direction, and character encoding schemes. CSS can display left-to-right, right-to-left or mixed text, enabling document authors to apply specialized formatting to portions of documents depending on the language they are written in. In addition, CSS2, when coupled with internationalization features, improves the searchability of content.

The CSS2 specification has been produced as part of the W3C Style Sheets Activity. After a period of public and Member review, W3C expects CSS2 to be endorsed as a new W3C Recommendation.

Please see attached testimonials document for additional information on CSS2. Further information on CSS is available at


About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to develop common protocols that enhance the interoperability and promote the evolution of the World Wide Web. It is an industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (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 220 organizations are Members of the Consortium.

For more information about the World Wide Web Consortium, see

About the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science

Now in its third decade, MIT LCS is dedicated to the invention, development and understanding of information technologies expected to drive substantial technical and socio-economic change. The LCS has helped information technology grow from a mere curiosity to 10 percent of the industrial world's economies by its pioneering efforts in interactive computing, computer networking, distributed systems and public key cryptography. LCS members and alumni have started some thirty companies and have pioneered the Nubus, the X-Window System, the RSA algorithm, the Ethernet and spreadsheets.

For more information about the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science, see


INRIA, the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control, is a public-sector scientific institute charged with conducting both fundamental and applied research, and with transferring research results to industry. INRIA is made up of five Research Units located at Rocquencourt (near Paris), Rennes, Sophia Antipolis, Nancy and Grenoble. Areas of current research include information processing, advanced high speed networking, structured documents, and scientific computation.

For more information about INRIA, see

About Keio University

Keio University is one of Japan's foremost computer science research centers and universities. It is one of the oldest private universities in Japan, and has five major campuses around Tokyo. Keio University has been promoting joint research projects in cooperation with industry, government and international organizations, and is now becoming one of the research leaders for the network and digital media technology.

For more information on Keio University, see


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"With the release of CSS2, the W3C has addressed many of the design and accessibility concerns of web publishers. In terms on making the web truly worldwide, one of the most significant additions is the ability to specifiy a downloadable font resource to use in rendering a document. Bitstream is proud of its contribution to this effort, both as an active member of the style sheet working group and as the provider of Bitstream TrueDoc, the premier technology to fully realize both the stylistic and internalization aspects of CSS2 Web Fonts today."

-- Brad Chase, Director of Product Marketing, Bitstream Inc.


"CSS2 is a very important release for all content providers on the Web. The Web without CSS provides information, the Web with CSS starts to provide documents. The new fields covered by CSS 2 will encourage Web designers to produce clean HTML code separating precisely content and rendering. In our industrial environment, this separation is a guarantee of re-useability, quality and lowest cost. We are now eagerly awaiting full CSS2 support by software vendors."

-- Daniel Glazman, Web Team Technical Manager, Electricité de France


"As the Web matures, it is gets better looking and easier to use, thanks in large part to Cascading Style Sheets. The latest Cascading Style Sheet specification is another big step forward. I am pleased to have been a part of this effort, especially since CSS2 helps address so many accessibility issues for persons with disabilities."

-- Murray Maloney, Technical Director, Grif S.A.


"Including Hewlett-Packard's proposed printing extensions in CSS2 represents a significant step forward in the printing of pages from the World Wide Web. Now, for the first time ever, users can receive web content formatted exactly as the author intended whether viewed on screen or on the printed page. This innovation furthers HP's digital workplace strategy by enabling the accurate distribution of information across the web regardless of whether the final document is required in digital or hardcopy form."

-- Ira Goldstein, Internet Technology Officer & General Manager, Internet Technolgy Group, Hewlett-Packard Company


"The CSS2 Working Draft extends the benefits of CSS to Positioning, Printing, Fonts, and Tables. Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 leads the industry with its CSS support today, and we will continue to support this critical technology as the W3C moves forward."

-- David Cole, Vice President of the Internet Client and Collaboration Division, Microsoft


"As a leading supporter of open standards, Netscape recognizes the tremendous value in supporting a platform-independent, open standard for style sheets, giving Web designers a common architecture for building richer Web pages. As one of the first vendors to include full support of the Cascading Style Sheets, Level 1 recommendation advanced by the W3C, Netscape has already demonstrated commitment to its widespread adoption as a standard. With the launch of Netscape Communicator 4.0 in June, Netscape delivered support for CSS1 across sixteen computing platforms, and included many major elements of the W3C's CSS Positioning working draft ("Positioning HTML Elements with CSS"). Today as these two important standards continue to evolve under the new working draft, Netscape looks forward to continuing its work with the W3C and plans to fully support CSS2 in a future version of Communicator once the standard is finalized."

-- Dave Rothschild, Vice President of Client Products, Netscape Communications Corporation


"For SoftQuad, bringing style sheets to the Web means giving users much more control over the look of a Web site than HTML alone can provide. We're delighted to have been part of the W3C Working Group designing CSS, and are looking forward to being able to give our customers the great control over the appearance of their pages that CSS2 will allow."

-- Lauren Wood, Technical Product Manager, SoftQuad, Inc.


"CSS2 goes a long way to making CSS truely international. Style sheets can be written to select styles based on language, which allows high-quality presentation of mixed language texts of all kinds. Support for the widest range of characters is possible because CSS supports the full range of ISO 10646 (aka Unicode), and font downloading can make sure these characters can actually be viewed."

-- Dr. Martin Dürst, Department of Computer Science, University of Zurich

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