W3C press release on style sheets

Hakon Lie (howcome@w3.org)
Wed, 6 Mar 1996 10:36:44 +0100

The W3 Consortium announces Web style sheets

Contact Europe:
Andrew Lloyd & Associates
+33 1 43227956, Sylvie Baranger
+44 1273 675100, Andrew Lloyd
Contact America:
The Weber Group
+1 (617) 661-7900, Hazel Kochocki

PARIS, FRANCE -- March 5, 1996 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
at INRIA and MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science has announced a
major step in building a coherent World Wide Web, the universe of
hyperlinked information available on the Internet. As part of a W3C
convergence initiative, Consortium members have agreed to develop a
common way of integrating style sheets into the Web's hypertext
documents. Participating members include: Adobe Systems Incorporated,
America Online, Compuserve, Eastman Kodak Company, Grif S.A., Hewlett
Packard, IBM Corporation, Matra Hachette, Microsoft Corporation, NCSA,
Netscape Communications Corporation, Oracle Corporation, O'Reilly &
Associates Inc., Reed-Elsevier, SoftQuad and Spyglass Inc. The style
sheet efforts will be based on Hakon Lie's Cascading Style Sheets
(CSS) initiative, to be further refined by a group of experts within
the W3C.

"Microsoft is pleased that W3C is driving the style sheets
standardization efforts on the Web," said John Ludwig, Vice President
of the Internet Platform and Tools Division at Microsoft. "We are
fully committed to supporting the style sheets initiative in all of
our Internet efforts."

"As the Web continues to expand, content developers will need the
technology to accurately present their information to the broadest
possible audience," said Jeff Treuhaft, Senior Product Manager at
Netscape. "Style sheets will assure this presentation in today's
cross-platform environment and we're very supportive of W3C taking a
lead role in defining this technology."

Currently, content providers do not have the control they have in
print media over color, text indentation, positioning, and other
aspects of style. A style sheet language offers a powerful and
manageable way for authors, artists and typographers to create the
visual effects they want. "Style sheets will make the Web a more
interesting place. It will allow companies to easily adopt a house
look and feel, and this will help give readers a sense of where they
are and what they are reading", said David Siegel of Verso.

"Hachette Livre, creater, owner and provider of information, strongly
supports publishing technologies based upon the style sheets
paradigm. Style sheets allow for optimization of content processing
and provide for portability on any type of medium," said Alain
Pierrot, Electronic Publishing Manager of Hachette Livre.

"Through hyperlinks, style sheets can be pointed to from Web documents
and this will dramatically simplify the maintenance of Web sites. "We
can put our company style into a single style sheet," said Dale
Dougherty of Songline Studios, an affiliate of O'Reilly and
Asssociates . "If the company later changes the style of its
presentation, we only need to make changes in one place."

The main document format on the Web, the Hypertext Markup Language
(HTML), was intentionally designed as a simple language that valued
document structure over document presentation. The enormous commercial
interest in the Web has called for enhanced presentations. "Style
sheets nicely combine structured documents with great-looking
screens," said Tim Berners-Lee, Director of W3C. "A widely deployed
style sheet format will ensure interoperability on the Web."

"The definition of a common style sheet format for HTML documents will
offer significant advantages over the numerous proprietary solutions
which currently exist on the Web", said Bertrand Melese, President of
Grif. "We are pleased to be involved in the development of the
standard and look forward to adding support for CSS in our HTML
authoring tools."

Style sheets will also improve the printing of Web documents. Paper
has different properties from a computer screen and the differences
can be accounted for in a style sheet. "Web authors should be
confident that their documents will look as good -- or better -- on
paper as they do on computer screens," said George Lynch, Imaging
Program Manager of Hewlett-Packard. "Style sheets are a key first step
in achieving this. HP is a strong supporter of the W3C to create open
industry standards such as this."

"Adding support for page design and style is an important next step
for HTML documents on the Web," said SoftQuad's Product Manager,
Murray Maloney. "Our products currently support style sheets for SGML
documents. We look forward to adding support for CSS in future
versions of our HTML publishing products."

The CSS style sheet mechanism allows authors, as well as readers to
influence the presentation of HTML documents. "Visually impaired Web
users may need increased font sizes and will be among the first to
benefit from style sheets," said T. V. Raman of Adobe Systems. "Also,
CSS provides a framework for speech style sheets. By describing
intonation, pauses and other components of speech along with
non-speech sound cues, a style sheet can produce rich aural
presentations." Raman himself is blind and is currently using his
prototype implementation of speech style sheets to access the Web.

"NCSA is committed to supporting style sheets in its Mosaic browser,
and to helping to develop and support all industry standards for use
in Web technology. CSS is an important step forward in
interoperability on the Web. This exciting technology will allow
publishers the layout flexibility that has been needed since the
beginning, without sacrificing the important principles of document
structure that HTML and SGML provide," said Briand Sanderson,
Technical Program Manager for NCSA Mosaic.

While the flexibility of the Web architecture will not prevent the use
of other style sheet languages, W3C's CSS will provide a firm
foundation for a widely deployed interoperable style sheet language.

The W3C exists to realize the full potential of the World Wide Web,
the universe of network-accessible information. It operates by
providing a neutral forum and developing common protocols and
reference code. The W3C is an industry consortium hosted by MIT's
Laboratory for Computer Science and INRIA. Services provided by the
Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide
Web for developers and users; a reference code implementation to
embody and promote protocols; and various prototype and sample
applications to demonstrate use of new technology. Membership is open
to any organization. To date, the Consortium comprises more than 130
organizations. It can be found at http://www.w3.org .

Now in its third decade, MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS)
is dedicated to the invention, development and understanding of
information technologies expected to drive substantial technical and
socio-economic change. The LCS has helped information technology grow
from a mere curiosity to 10 percent of the industrial world's
economies by its pioneering efforts in interactive computing, computer
networking, distributed systems and public key cryptography. LCS
members and alumni have started some thirty companies and have
pioneered the Nubus, the X-Window System, the RSA algorithm, the
Ethernet and spreadsheets.

INRIA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and
Control is a French public-sector scientific institute. INRIA is made
up of five Research Units located at Rocquencourt (near Paris),
Rennes, Sophia Antipolis, Nancy and Grenoble. The transfer of research
results is one of INRIA's main assignments, in addition to its
fundamental and applied research in information processing, control
and scientific computation.

More information on W3C is available from: http://www.w3.org/

The CSS working draft is available from

For background information on style sheets, see the resource page:

This press release is also available from: