Cascading Style Sheets | Part 2

Cascading Style Sheets | Part 2

History of CSS

The concept of style sheet is present from the beginning of the World Wide Web: the first web browser (WorldWideWeb, it was later renamed “Nexus”) allows you to format documents using what would be TODAY considered as a “user style sheet”. Similarly, the Viola browser in 1992 and Harmony in 1993 adopted to use a similar mechanism to determine the rendering of fonts, colors or text alignment.

It is however not determined by the style author. The first implementations HTML does not include elements of presentation, while increasing pressure for browsers that allow authors to determine for themselves the formatting of the website, in a step after publication printed electronics. In this context, in 1994-1995, the all-new Netscape introduced the first presentation of HTML elements on the initiative of Marc Andreessen, while concurrently the first proposals show delivery formats external styles : the “stylesheet proposal” Pei Wei (Viola creator), “Stylesheets for HTML” Robert Raisch (O’Reilly), and finally the “HTML Cascading Style Sheets (CHSS) to Håkon Wium Lie. The advent of CSS responds to a desire to “offer an alternative to evolution of HTML language to structuring a presentation language”.

A third way of development is also open at the same time: the transformation language DSSSL SGML documents, developed by James Clark, suggests the possibility of a format style that is not only descriptive, and approximates a true programming language. This track is followed by Netscape, which in 1996 moved to the W3C “JavaScript-Based Style Sheets (JSSS), implemented by Netscape Navigator 4 in 1997.

The origins of CSS are related to three major alternatives:

  • HTML is there a format or structure of a mixed format editing and structuring?
  • The choice of presenting author should they take precedence over those of the user?
  • The answer is she needs a format for describing the formatting, or a transformation language?

The first developments

The first proposed Cascading HTML Style Sheets made by Håkon Wium Lie holds the attention of Dave Raggett, who was then the principal editor of the draft specification HTML3.0. Advocates a purely structural HTML, it encourages the publication of a paper CHSS, so that it can be presented and discussed at the Second International Conference on the WWW (Mosaic and the Web ‘, Chicago, 1994). It also modifies the browser with Håkon Lie Arena, to allow testing of this format, and demonstrated at the Third WWW Conference in 1995.

Meanwhile, Bert Bos, who was then working on the browser Argo, and who had submitted its own draft to the W3C “Stream-based Style Sheet Proposal (SSP), decides to join its effects to those of Håkon Lie. PHC was developed with the idea of being applicable not only to HTML, but also to other markup languages, Bert Bos and Håkon Lie resume this goal and make it a key feature of the CSS itself becomes said.

Another aspect of CSS is so in opposing the existing alternatives: CSS is the first format to include the idea of “cascading” (cascading style sheet), that is to say, the possibility for style a document to be inherited from more of a “style sheet”. This helps to mediate between several competing sources of shaping element, and therefore meets the need to compromise between the stylistic preferences of the authors and users.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) becomes operational in 1995, and the mailing list www-style is created. The same year held in Paris a “W3C style sheet workshop” decisive for the future of CSS. Y is particularly affirmed the desire to maintain the style sheets in a simple form, which excludes the hypothesis JSSS Netscape. Moreover, Thomas Reardon (Microsoft) will announce the coming of CSS support in future versions of Internet Explorer, meaning that when the W3C creates the end of the “HTML Editorial Review Board (ERB HTML ) to ratify the future HTML specifications, DOM and CSS, Netscape, represented by Lou Montulli, finally agrees to CSS project led by Bert Bos and Håkon Lie.

Continued…

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