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Last Revision: March 10, 1998


Anatomy of a Style Sheet: rules

rule = Selector { Declaration }

Declaration = property : value

rule = Selector { property : value }

h1 { font-family: bold 50px Verdana, sans-serif;
color: #F73;
text-decoration: underline ; }

This is the result


Web Style Sheets: No Style Support - Still have Access!

(This page uses CSS style sheets)

What's new?

What are style sheets?

Press clippings




"Hopefully, future Web innovations will emulate the example set by the Web Consortium in its work on CSS"
--Jakob Nielsen

What's new

What are style sheets?

Style sheets describe how documents are presented on screens, in print, or perhaps how they are pronounced. Style sheets are soon coming to a browser near you, and this page and its links will tell you all there is to know about style sheets.

By attaching style sheets to structured documents on the Web (e.g. HTML), authors and readers can influence the presentation of documents without sacrificing device-independence or adding new HTML tags. Style sheets have been an W3C activity since the consortium was founded and has resulted in the development of CSS. Recently, a Working Group on XSL was launched.

The easiest way to start experimenting with style sheets is to find a browser that support CSS. Discussions about style sheets are carried out on the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. mailing list and on comp.infosystems.www.authoring.stylesheets.

Press clippings

If you are new to the subject, you may want to start by browsing recent press clippings on style sheets:


Where CSS1 is simple, DSSSL is advanced. DSSSL, an ISO standard, is a document tree transformation and style language with many adherents in the SGML community.

It's a mistake to put DSSSL into the same bag as scripting languages. Yes, DSSSL is turing-complete; yes, it's a programming language. But a script language (at least the way I use the term) is procedural; DSSSL very definitely is not. DSSSL is entirely functional and entirely side-effect-free. Nothing ever happens in a DSSSL stylesheet. The stylesheet is one giant function whose value is an abstract, device-independent, nonprocedural description of the formatted document that gets fed as a specification of display areas to downstream rendering processes.
-- Jon Bosak

DSSSL resources on the Web:


W3C has recently launched a Working Group to develop the eXtensible Style Language (XSL). XSL builds on DSSSL and CSS and is primarily targeted for highly structured XML data which e.g. needs element reordering before presentation. One feature of XSL is that it can be user-extended through the ECMAScript language. For more information on XSL see the W3C XSL resource page.

Dynamic HTML

Dynamic HTML is a term used to describe HTML pages with dynamic content. CSS is one of three components in dynamic HTML; the other two are HTML itself and JavaScript (which is being standardized under the name EcmaScript). The three components are glued together with DOM, the component object model. Dynamic HTML is still in its infancy and current implementations are experimental.

Historical Style Sheet proposals

The proposals are roughly in chronological order. They contain ideas that current proposals build upon, and serve as background material.

970922: The eit list archive no longer seems operational and we're looking for a new source for links below

Related resources

Other approaches to putting style on the web


HŒkon Wium Lie, W3C Style Sheets Activity Leader
Last updated: $Date: 1998/01/15 20:53:12 $

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Last Revision: March 10, 1998

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