W3C Issues Associating Style Sheets with XML as a Recommendation

Author(s) and publish date


Allows XML to Leverage Display Power, Flexibility of CSS



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/


Contact America --
Janet Daly, <janet@w3.org>, +1.617.253.5884
Contact Europe --
Ned Mitchell, <ned@ala.com>, +
Andrew Lloyd, <allo@ala.com>, +
Contact Asia --
Yuko Watanabe <yuko@w3.org>, +81.466.49.1170

Testimonials for Associating Style Sheets with XML Documents

Adobe Corporation | Microsoft Corporation |Netscape Communications | Opera Software | SoftQuad Software


Adobe has been looking forward to today's recommendation of "Associating Style Sheets with XML Documents." We have not only contributed significantly to the development of the specification by participating on the XML Syntax Working Group, but also have demonstrated our early commitment to this mechanism by implementing an early version of the specification for Adobe FrameMaker and FrameMaker+SGML. Adobe FrameMaker Customers will especially appreciate the ability to automate the process of associating industry standard style sheet languages with XML documents.

--Joel Nava, Publishing Products, Adobe Systems Incorporated and W3C XML Syntax Working Group Chair


Style Sheet Linking outlines a simple way for locating style sheets on the Web. Microsoft's Internet Explorer 5 supports this specification today, enabling it to browse XML documents. We're excited the W3C has moved so quickly with this initiative, and are proud to have actively participated in its development.

--Mark Ryland, Director, Standards Activities, Microsoft Corporation


Linking XML data to style sheets will enable users to benefit from both rich structure and formatting. With support for style sheet linking in the Gecko layout engine and the next generation of Netscape Navigator, we believe this will improve both the searchability and presentation of data.

-- Jim Hamerly, Vice President of Client Products, Netscape Communications , a subsidiary of America OnLine Inc.


Opera Software is pleased to have a way of linking CSS Style Sheets to XML documents. The next version of the Opera Browser will support XML and CSS, just as we support HTML and CSS today.

-- Håkon Wium Lie, Chief Technical Officer, Opera Software


Associating Style Sheets with XML Documents is a small specification, but one that is important for interoperability on the Web. SoftQuad Software is pleased to have been part of this process. We have implemented this recommendation in our award-winning XML authoring tool, XMetaL.

--Dr. Lauren Wood, Director of Product Technology, SoftQuad Software

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