CSS Tutorials

Evolution of CSS
Previous Home Next

Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS, are a way to add formatting to HTML which has extremely limited means of presentation.

There are many options available in CSS from font choices to alignment to indentation. One of the major appeals of CSS is the ability to provide a central place to control what your pages look like. Unlike HTML, where you have to change the settings on each page manually, with CSS you can change all your web pages from a central file stored on the server. This ability and design options make CSS the best choice for web design.

The first release of CSS was in 1996. This release called CSS1 was a product of the World Wide Web Consortium or the W3C. The W3C is the source for all web design schema and the standards which are used across the globe. Since the original CSS was published there have been two other schema updates provided by the Consortium.

CSS2 was released in 1998 and followed by CSS3 in 1999.

The schema, or plans, for CSS are divided into modules and the current version has over 40 of these units.Since the first release in 1996 CSS has become a standard for web design.

XSL, which is short for Extensible Stylesheet Language, is a styling language that has some relationship with CSS, but also goes far beyond anything CSS can do. XSL is specifically designed for styling XML documents, and is close to a full programming language. It allows the programmer to do such things as convert XML into different markup languages (such as XHTML) for presentation in different media or for use in different applications.

Difficulty with adoption

The CSS 1 specification was completed in 1996. Microsoft's Internet Explorer 3[14] was released in that year, featuring some limited support for CSS. But it was more than three years before any web browser achieved near-full implementation of the specification. Internet Explorer 5.0 for the Macintosh, shipped in March 2000, was the first browser to have full (better than 99 percent) CSS 1 support,[25] surpassing Opera, which had been the leader since its introduction of CSS support 15 months earlier. Other browsers followed soon afterwards, and many of them additionally implemented parts of CSS 2. As of August 2010, no (finished) browser had fully implemented CSS 2, with implementation levels varying


CSS has various levels and profiles. Each level of CSS builds upon the last, typically adding new features and typically denoted as CSS 1, CSS 2, CSS 3, and CSS 4. Profiles are typically a subset of one or more levels of CSS built for a particular device or user interface. Currently there are profiles for mobile devices, printers, and television sets. Profiles should not be confused with media types, which were added in CSS 2.

The path for CSS was not always easy. In the beginning most browsers did not support the standard or only supported certain parts. Even now all browsers do not support style sheets the same way and this can cause bugs when designing web pages. Many programmers have developed work-arounds and hacks to provide for different browsers. Once browsers started accepting style sheets and presenting them correctly there were other barriers to implementation

Previous Home Next