Tuesday 24 July 2007

CSS 2.1 Finally Moves to Candidate Recommendation

While my real wet dream is seeing this darn spec made a recommendation already, this is at least a very overdue crawl in the right direction.

From the W3C:

“W3C is pleased to announce the advancement of “Cascading Style
Sheets (CSS) 2.1” to Candidate Recommendation. Implementation
feedback is welcome through 20 December. CSS is one of the Web’s
most widely implemented languages. By separating the presentation of
style from the content of documents, CSS simplifies Web authoring
and site maintenance. CSS 2.1 is derived from and is intended to
replace CSS Level 2. A snapshot of usage, the specification brings
the language in line with implementations, fixes errata and adds a
few highly requested features including the inline-block value for
the display property, the color orange and the values pre-wrap and
pre-line for the white-space property. Visit the CSS home page.”

You can read about the move to CR and keep up with CSS news and advancements, too.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 02:31 | Comments (26)

Comments (26)

  1. The first link is broken – there’s a <br/> in the middle.

  2. ^^ The irony. 🙂

    Glad to see this moving forward, at last…

  3. good news – and long overdue!!

  4. If the various working groups want to manage what they consider to be a “Broken Web”, they had better move a hell of a lot faster. Their effectiveness and reputation is on the line and the Web will continue to fragment. Technology and people aren’t going to sit back and wait for these guys, e.g. Apple’s iPhone.

  5. Damn it. is=are Holzschlag, I sure hope your new site includes an edit function.

  6. The irony is that the WG took so long to publish the specification because of waiting for implementations, and not release a specification which is out of reality.

    That is always interesting to read the comments.
    1) you publish a spec quickly and people argue it is not implemented and the W3C is out of reality.

    2) you take time to publish a specification to be sure that all major players (which are *actually* in the WG) give their ok on all features (as in yes we are implementing this) and people argue that W3C is too slow.

    hmmm, could someone dare to explain?

    The Web market for CSS is the designers.
    The power of the market is the designers.
    If designers want something request it to the *implementers* aka browser vendors, which are in the WGs at least for HTML, for CSS.

    There was a time when the WASP was doing an active job to push *browser vendors* to implement what they had decided 😉

    The market! Without the market nothing can be done.

  7. Karl: I’m wondering what two complete implementations of CSS 2.1 exist? Also, isn’t that supposed to happen before recommendation and not CR?

    It is important to point out this is not necessarily a failing of the W3C and has roots in interop problems that have existed for years in terms of the spec > vendor relationships.

  8. dubost–

    The reality is that consensus building has only a limited window until the “patient” develops an entirely different set of symptoms or dies.

    Another reality is, and one that I believe you may have referenced in one of your blog articles, that when rendering issues because of poorly written content cause display issues, the browser’s reputation takes the hit. When slowness of standards occurs, the W3C takes the hit. The W3C represents its aggregate membership.

    The market is not developers, members of the W3C .. the market is the end-user, those millions of people who willing launch a browser everyday.

    People need to get over the petty haggling and remember that is who we serve and who feeds us.

  9. Addendum–

    If I am reading this correctly, the Candidate Recommendation means that all members of the Working Group, or at least its ‘major players’, had to sign off on it?

    That implies full implementation of the spec into user agents of those ‘major players’?

    If so, this could be a watershed event. It would imply the timing is there for what Holzschlag called for in the implementation of all existing specifications and Dubost’s logic of development of the HTML 5 spec to smooth out interoperability for that hugely fragmented non-standard segment of the Web.

    If the timing is there, it would imply that the delays seen over the last 10 to 15 years could be a thing of the past.

    Don’t lose the opportunity, please. There are some very real pressing issues: RIA, mobile devices, XML, etc.

  10. I have always thought that the status of Candidate Recommendation indicates a readiness for implementation, rather than something that must wait for implementations. In fact, I believe “7.1.2 Maturity Levels of the Recommendation Track” specifically addresses this. Why must the W3C work at such glacial slowness? As far as I can tell, the first Working Draft for 2.1 emerged almost five years ago. Five years! Some cars and aircraft have shorter development and deployment cycles, and this is only meant to be a revision of an existing specification. The various modules of CSS3 should have reached CR status by now.

  11. It’s about time this happened. About 5 years late, if you ask me, but you know what they say about being better late than never…

  12. CR is a call for implementations. It means basically

    “hey out there, the CSS WG thinks the spec is ready to be implemented and we are seeking for bug reports or technical problems when you implemented.”

    The CSS WG contains the major implementers of the *browser* crowd, not that much unfortunately on the authoring tool side as usual.

    Short history of CSS 2.1

    * 1st WD – 2 August 2002
    * Last Call – 15 September 2003
    * Candidate Rec – 25 February 2004
    * Last Call – 13 June 2005 (some of the features were not well implemented and it is why the WG decided to put it back to Last Call WD.)
    * Candidate Rec – 19 July 2007
    Note that there are still features at risk.

    There is a test suite

    @Simon: Yes exactly, the spec is being considered ready for implementations. In a domain like CSS, which is large and has a lot of impacts on the Web, the issues are more about interoperability. If only one of the major players implements things differently, it is very hard to get the feature deployed and used by Web designers. That is the big issue, IMHO.

    The question is then becoming should the feature be kept in the specification or not, if *one* implementer don’t do it correctly. That’s a very difficult decision. People are asking for more features, some companies have different priorities. I would be more interested to have a feedback mechanisms where Web developers lobby groups can push vendors to do things. I think about WSG, WASP, ALA, W3Quebec, Openweb, etc.

    About the market:

    The market of a technology is usually driven by people making business with this technology. The market, in the case of CSS and HTML, is not the end-user (except when this one pays for a product, for example a voice browser), but the Web developers, Web designers, Web agencies, Authoring tools implementers, etc. All of these categories are being economically dependent on the state of art with regards to the technology.

    If these categories federate to request things to *each* vendor, it will have a lot more impact.

    It doesn’t mean that the end-user is not important, but that the market for the end-user is people producing Web sites. In fact, we could add even an additional step in between: the companies contracting web dev.

    Browser vendors — ($$) — Web agencies — ($$) — companies — ($$) — End-user

    When my bank web site doesn’t work, I send an email to my bank company, which complains to the Web agency… The web developers cry and curse the browser vendors. 🙂

  13. When my bank web site doesn’t work

    You, as the end-user.

    Why is this perspective important? It gets everyone who is involved looking beyond their own self centered interests, focuses need on the whole and can substantially reduce haggling over nonsensical issues. It is always the last guy on the totem pole who pays the price, one way or the other.

    It is time to set aside the notorious in-fighting among members of all the working groups and XYZ organizations. Enough is enough. Get in and get the job done.

  14. Pingback: BitSignals » CSS 2.1 es Candidate Recommendation

  15. @Karl
    “If designers want something request it to the *implementers* aka browser vendors, which are in the WGs at least for HTML, for CSS.”

    I have heard sooooo many people say well just request it from the vendors (maybe this is a stupid question) but how do you do that?

    Does the W3C have a place where all of their email addresses are published so that we could email them? Would that be effective?

    To use Molly’s words from @Media, should we “roar”? Write about it on our blogs?

    Is there a bar that all these guys hang out at that we can chat with them?

  16. In many respects I am inclined to believe it is partly about browsers and so forth keeping up with us and our needs (users) rather than the cart leading the horse… its nice to see some movement on the CSS 2.1 front finally even if in some respects I agree with Joe Clark when he said that we’re pretty much using it anyway, or should be.

  17. The color orange! Woot!!!

  18. Thorp–

    The most knowledgeable people to answer your question, as of yet, haven’t.

    Since the biggest holdup on standards implementation as far as vendors has been Microsoft, here is the contact information:

    Microsoft Corp
    (425) 882-8080
    1 Microsoft Way
    Redmond, WA 98052

    Contact: Chris Wilson, Platform Architect of the Internet Explorer Platform Team

    e-Mail: chris.wilson ampersand

    If there is a particular development package that you use and wish to express concern, possibly perform an Internet search for their corporate HQ and phone number. One of the easiest ways to find HQ telephone numbers, providing they are a US company and publicly traded, is to do search on the Securities and Exchange Commission Web site,, and review the company’s most recent SEC filing.

  19. Holzschlag–

    Molly, this is off topic but I believe it has relevance.

    Has anyone, yet, noticed the latest release of the W3C Validation Service and how it produces 404 Errors from existing links to it? Or how when using Firefox and navigating to internal URIs on the Service’s Web site that it will cause the browser to immediately close?

    The Validation Service is the most widely used and visible asset of the W3C. The problems with it, to me, speak volumes when combined with other indicators. I am convinced that Berners-Lee needs to consider a leadership and management change of the W3C from top to bottom and how the W3C operates. Without it out, they are on the verge of becoming the United Nations of the Internet, a highly ineffectual body of well intentioned people.

  20. Molly–

    I owe you, your readers, and most of all, Karl Dubost and the W3C my sincerest apologies. There is NOT a bug within the new version 0.8 W3C Validation Service as I stated. There is, however, a bug within a commercially available plug-in for Firefox that will cause the browser to prematurely close whenever a form post link on the Web site of the Validation Service is clicked. The software developer and the plug-in developer have been made aware, today, of the problem and are actively working to resolve these confirmed issues.

    I knew better but shot off my damn mouth without performing due diligence. It is inexcusable. Humility, more often than not, is a lesson that occasionally must be revisited. Again, my deepest apologies to everyone.

  21. There are some pressing issues, that’s why i expected this happened. BUT,
    (imho) CSS3 will be implemented sooner.

  22. this subject is very important for us . thank for subject. please write back soon

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