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CSS Turns 10 Years Old 176

Posted by kdawson
from the celebrating-in-style dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Cascading Style Sheets celebrate their tenth anniversary this week. The W3C put together the CSS10 site in recognition of this milestone with a Hall of Fame, essays from the past decade, a gallery, and more." I was glad to see the CSS Zen Garden selected for the Hall of Fame, and disappointed (but not surprised) that no browser on my computer correctly renders the Acid2 test.
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CSS Turns 10 Years Old

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  • ACID2 Compliance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @03:11PM (#17303148) Homepage Journal
    "[I was] disappointed (but not surprised) that no browser on my computer correctly renders the Acid2 test."


    Time to get a new computer [apple.com].

    Here's a list [wikipedia.org] of ACID2 compliant browsers. It's longer than one might think.
    • Re:ACID2 Compliance (Score:4, Informative)

      by Kelson (129150) * on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @03:17PM (#17303246) Homepage Journal
      Time to get a new computer.

      Heck, chances are Opera [opera.com] will run on his current computer.

      Isn't it interesting, though, that most of the Acid2-compliant browsers are either Mac or Unix-based? I suppose that has to do with the fact that most Windows-only browsers just embed the IE rendering engine, and most cross-platform browsers use Gecko (here's to Gecko 1.9 passing Acid2 when it's finished!). That basically leaves KHTML and Webkit, which are firmly entrenched in *nix and MacOS respectively, and a couple of independent engines: Opera (cross-platform) and iCab (Mac).

    • by catbutt (469582) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @03:38PM (#17303572)
      Although you could start using Safari, I have found a better compromise.

      I use Firefox for day to day browsing. But every so often, when I find the need to view the sublime smiley face image in all its glory, I fire up Safari for just that. It serves my needs, since I really only need to see the smily image maybe once a day or so.
      • by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @03:48PM (#17303726) Homepage
        This outlines the problem. Safari has been "Fixed" so that the acid2 test renders correctly, yet still contains lots of rendering bugs. I would have to say as a web developer that I run into many more rendering bugs on Safari than I do on Firefox (although IE is the worst). I can probably code a browser that correctly renders the acid 2 test in 3 days. It won't render any other pages properly, but it will render the acid2 test.
        • by egomaniac (105476) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @04:02PM (#17303908) Homepage
          Hell, I can create a web browser that will render Acid2 correctly in five minutes.

          Step 1: Retrieve Acid2 HTML
          Step 2: Completely ignore it and display a screen shot of the correct rendering
        • by Kelson (129150) * on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @04:14PM (#17304082) Homepage Journal
          Safari has been "Fixed" so that the acid2 test renders correctly, yet still contains lots of rendering bugs.

          This nicely demonstrates the fact that Acid2 is not a CSS compliance test (something which I've seen claimed in many discussions). If Opera 9 and Safari 2 can both pass Acid2, but Opera 9 has broader and/or less buggy CSS support, then Acid2 cannot tell you the overall level of compliance.

          It's important to remember what Acid2 is: namely, a wish list for web developers. It's a bunch of features that developers would like to use, but which had (until recently) limited, buggy, or just plain no support in major browsers. The prestige of passing Acid2 (and, conversely, the shame of not passing it) was supposed to motivate browser developers to essentially fill in the corners of their CSS support, making it feasible for web developers to start using more of their toolboxes.

          It's taken time, but it's succeeded, with one notable "we don't care, we don't have to" exception: Internet Explorer. Of the four major engines, KHTML and Opera have it, and Gecko is getting it soon. And the biggest player on the block seems to be doing its best to prevent us from actually using our tools if we want the majority of web surfers to see our sites as designed.

    • Do any browsers really do CSS right? Firefox is missing drop shadows and IE7, Safari, and Opera still don't center content correctly all the time. Still things are a lot better than with older browsers such as IE6.

      I wish the standards would be realistic and just realize that no browser is ever going to be 100% perfect in how it renders a page and that in some cases the standard isn't going to be perfect either. I hate to praise IE but IE has a way to only load certains stylesheets for IE or even certain ver
      • by Kelson (129150) *
        Heck, I like to switch stylesheets based on window size even so why not make that possible also without resorting to Javascript

        You mentioned CSS3, so you may be aware of this already, but CSS media queries [virtuelvis.com] will eventually do this. AFAIK, Opera is still the only browser with even experimental support for them, though.

      • by Bogtha (906264)

        I hate to praise IE but IE has a way to only load certains stylesheets for IE or even certain versions of IE. It'd be nice to see that built into the standard so it'd be easier to make minor tweaks for individual cases.

        Delivering differentiated content to work around buggy user-agents is a function of the transport protocol, not something you want to replicate for each and every file format delivered over that protocol. It is built into the standard - the right standard for this, HTTP. I quote from

    • by jdb8167 (204116)
      Safari doesn't render Acid2 correctly if you have the Flash plug-in turned off.
    • I just tried the ACID2 test on my computer again after you said that. It would seem that the new Mozilla finally renders it flawlessly. I've previously tried it in Konqueror and Opera, and it displays fine there as well.

      Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.9a2pre) Gecko/20061219 Minefield/3.0a2pre
  • 10 years old... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kelson (129150) * on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @03:12PM (#17303160) Homepage Journal
    ...and we're still waiting for a complete CSS2 implementation. Though to be fair, CSS2 is only 8.5 years old, and has been undergone a couple of minor revisions. I've seen good comparisons of browser support for CSS2 and CSS3 [webdevout.net]. Anyone know of a good summary of current browsers' CSS1 support?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Salvance (1014001) *
      I don't know if we should give browsers any slack just because CSS2 is "only 8.5 years old". It's pretty poor IMO that a widespread standard such as CSS 2.0 still isn't implemented fully by any browser.
      • Re:10 years old... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @03:33PM (#17303502)
        It's pretty poor IMO that a widespread standard such as CSS 2.0 still isn't implemented fully by any browser.

        Maybe that's not only because browser developers have been lazy (IE) or preoccupied with rewriting the browser from the ground up (Netscape/Firefox) for the past 8.5 years, but also because CSS 2.0 is a convoluted, sloppily designed specification?
        • Re:10 years old... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Shados (741919) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @04:26PM (#17304240)
          but also because CSS 2.0 is a convoluted, sloppily designed specification


          Correct. Honestly, I don't really ever want to see an -actively pushed-, and considered "standard" specification proposition go out without a reference implementation. Sit down, agree to a specification, propose it, then make a reference implementation, THEN start pushing it.

          When you look at most successful specs, from videocard chipsets, to Java specifications, they come with a reference implementation: this makes sure that everything makes sense in -practice-, not just in theory. With CSS, it is all about theory, without real world tests.

          The only reason it got pushed as standard, is because the web evolved too fast for its own good, and no one realised what was happening before it was too late, to propose an alternative to CSS.
          • by Bogtha (906264)

            With CSS, it is all about theory, without real world tests.

            On the contrary, some of the most frequently complained about shortcomings of CSS are due to the desire to keep implementations simple, which is practically the opposite of being "all about theory". They purposefully left out things like a decent query mechanism because they considered it too hard for people to implement.

            The only reason it got pushed as standard, is because the web evolved too fast for its own good, and no one realised wh

            • by Shados (741919)

              On the contrary, some of the most frequently complained about shortcomings of CSS are due to the desire to keep implementations simple, which is practically the opposite of being "all about theory". They purposefully left out things like a decent query mechanism because they considered it too hard for people to implement.

              Makes sense. However, looking at the specs, its too simple to pass a real world usuability test (aka: do what my customers want it to do), yet too convoluted to be implemented properly

              • by Bogtha (906264)

                You know, the whole "This property works. But only for elements of this type. Or with this, this, or that property. Unless its parent has this property, or is of this type. Unless you're using %, in which case it doesn't work at all. Unless....". Holy jesus!

                Yeah, that's really a pain in the neck, particularly for for designers, but again, it's a limitation brought about by the desire to make it easy to implement rendering engines. If you look at a lot of the things that match your description, you'll

                • by Shados (741919)
                  I agree, to some extent. The catch is here: There are many different browser based engines, usualy in the form of plugins, that work fine, even on limited hardware. Flash, for example.

                  The reason WHY they made CSS the way it is, makes a lot of sense, I'll give you that. However, they failed. The browser already has to be aware of a ton more things, for DOM, javascript, etc. So CSS's implementation helps...cellphones. Thats about it...

                  The only thing in the spec that makes sense put in perspective, as someone
      • by Kelson (129150) *
        I don't know if we should give browsers any slack just because CSS2 is "only 8.5 years old".

        Sorry, I left out the scare quotes around "only."

    • by jd (1658)
      No doubt we'll see plenty of confusion, given that CSS2 is barely recognized. Hmmm - maybe Slashdot should claim CSS10 compliance, as the site lists it. :)

      As for CSS 2 being 8.5 years old, that's 3,192.5 days. If we assume a programmer can spend 8 hours a day, that gives us 24,820 workable programming hours since the spec came out, per programmer. Sure, outside of F/OSS (and Electronic Arts) no programmer is going to work 365 days a year, but then very few companies are going to allocate just one programmer

  • by iamjoltman (883526) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @03:12PM (#17303162)
    Is it just me, or is it a little ironic that the page that celebrates 10 years of CSS is so bland looking?
  • Slashdot's advertisers STILL CAN'T GET IT RIGHT. I just saw a CSS error, in Firefox 1.5, that disappeared with a reload. Obviously a top of screen banner ad went bad.
  • It just works! (Score:2, Informative)

    by skia (100784)
    I was ... disappointed (but not surprised) that no browser on my computer correctly renders the Acid2 test.

    You're clearly not using a mac [slashdot.org].

  • Wow! (Score:5, Funny)

    by NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) <john...oyler@@@comcast...net> on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @03:16PM (#17303230) Journal
    PNG was almost 10 years old when IE finally supported it! Maybe this means that IE8* will have CSS! Hurray!

    *IE8 is expected to debut sometime in late 2018.
    • by blibbler (15793)
      Curiously IE was the first browser to support PNG alpha channel.
  • 10 years (Score:5, Funny)

    by wumpus188 (657540) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @03:20PM (#17303310)
    <div class='rant'> ... and still no vertical centering. </rant>
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Yvan256 (722131)
      ... and still no "height=100% of parent container" either. We're still forced to do either javascript and/or visual hacks to make two columns of the same height with dynamic content inside each column.
      • HTML, from it's inception, was designed to be layout indepedent. The size and placement of objects is determined from inside out, expanding to fit.

        CSS follows this model, to keep things from horribly breaking when a browser decides to turn off some CSS feature or substitute a stylesheet for print preview or what have you.

        Saying that some container should expand to an arbitrary size that hasn't been determined yet breaks the model. That becomes especially problematic when you nest a series of parent-relative
    • </div>? Surely?
    • by VJ42 (860241)
      <quote>&lt;div class='rant'&gt; ... and still no vertical centering. &lt;/rant&gt;</quote>
      <pedant>
      Your HTML isn't properly formatted, it should be </div>, not </rant>
      </pedant>
    • by shmert (258705)
      http://www.w3.org/Style/Examples/007/center-examp l e.html [w3.org] should do the trick, although I tend to be among those ridiculing the CSS zealots who resort to obscene hacks to get around using tables. This example seems like kind of a copout, since it uses the display:table functionality in CSS. So, you can't use a table, but it's perfectly fine to use a

      and tell the browser to render it like a table :P

  • Yay, yet another bunch of web pages with light grey text on white background! Just what the world needed.

    Come on guys, it might be valid CSS, but it is not easy on the eyes.
    • by spun (1352)
      There are dozens of different entries at that site. Maybe hundreds, it's been a few years since I looked though all of them. Most of them do not have light grey text on a black background. The neat thing about the site is that the html is exactly the same, only the CSS changes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ewhac (5844)
      You did check the hundreds of other stylings of the same content, didn't you?

      In case you didn't, here [csszengarden.com] are [csszengarden.com] a few [csszengarden.com] examples [csszengarden.com].

      The point of the site is to illustrate how the exact same HTML file can be displayed in an infinite number of ways by simply changing the CSS. The site is essentially an argument for a semantic Web.

      Schwab

  • Uh oh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sirnuke (866453) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @03:44PM (#17303678) Homepage
    Uh oh [w3.org]
    #navigation li Invalid number : text-shadow Property text-shadow doesn't exist : 0 2px 4px #000
    • Re:Uh oh (Score:4, Informative)

      by Bogtha (906264) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @05:31PM (#17305378)

      The W3C's CSS validator has recently been changed to check against CSS 2.1 by default instead of CSS 2. The text-shadow property was removed from CSS 2.1 because virtually no browser developers bothered to implement it. The stylesheet is still a valid CSS 2 stylesheet, but you wouldn't know that because nobody's bothered to come up with a way of labelling stylesheets to denote what level of CSS they are meant to conform to.

  • CSS10? But IE still doesn't have CSS2... aha! It's a binary joke! I get it now! There are 10 kinds of browsers in the world: those that implement CSS properly and those that don't.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``There are 10 kinds of browsers in the world: those that implement CSS properly and those that don't.''

      Sadly, I think there is only 1 kind.
  • I'm sorry, but I can't wait until my options for web type are more then the font tag, a crappy style sheet, a picture that looks like type, Flash, or some sort of odd embeded media option that a only fraction of people can view. I hope by the time Slashdot posts "CSS turns 20" we've finally embraced our SVG overlords, or some sort of superior vector graphic solution.

    Even if browsers were to finally properly support tracking, x-height controls, etc., CSS is still obnoxiously rudimentary in comparison to the
    • by croddy (659025) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @04:43PM (#17304504)
      The great thing about a personal computer is that I can customize the settings to my personal preferences. If, god help us all, you ever do find a way to embed typefaces in web pages, I'll be painlessly overriding your designs with black Bitstream Vera on a pale gray background.

      I can't wait either.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Aqua OS X (458522)
        Believe it or not, some graphic designers / typographers actually know what they hell they're doing; and they've been schooled to use typesetting to as a communication tool that can actually increase comprehension, legibility, reading speed, etc. Yet I can't necessarily say thats all, or the majority, of "graphic designers."

        That said, yes, properly styled and typeset text needs to live and accessible. It's currently not (at least in any practical form), and that's the problem.
        • by Bob Uhl (30977)
          The problem is not that typographers/graphic designers are ignorant--quite the opposite, actually: the problem is that they are too learned in outdated technology. They learnt their skills on the printed page, which has something like 1200-2400 dpi resolution and a fixed (or at least controllable) page size. What makes sense for books doesn't necessarily make sense on-screen; in fact, sometimes it's the worst possible thing.

          Now, the very best typographers and graphic designers are the ones who will sepe

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @04:25PM (#17304220) Homepage Journal
    Hey, and maybe in another ten years we'll have a position system that works reliably across browsers and can survive the window being resized, the dpi being changed, or the font being enlarged. Other than tables I mean.

    I did the CSS -showcase thing a few months ago and about 10% of the layouts by the CSS Masters of the Universe fit the above criteria. It may not be impossible, but the bar's too high.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      ``Hey, and maybe in another ten years we'll have a position system that works reliably across browsers and can survive the window being resized, the dpi being changed, or the font being enlarged. Other than tables I mean.''

      My first reaction to this is: I don't think this is a problem with CSS. Maybe there is a problem with implementations, or with webmasters doing things the wrong way. Am I missing something?
      • by crayz (1056)
        Yeah: CSS makes it so difficult to do proper layout that will look right in all browsers, that most people stick with tables. Part of this is the fault of browser implementors(*cough* IE *cough*), but its a real sore-spot for web design
  • by fullphaser (939696) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @04:48PM (#17304588) Homepage
    They have yet to convince me just how they are going to make the table obsolete, every time you turn a corner you are hearing from CSS users (including myself) the end of the table is near, don't use the table, I think the real question ought to be why not use the table, besides the lag, the complications with non css table layouts actually tend to go down in my experience. Yes I could spend 2 days figuring out why the div layout is being difficult and use CSS hacks to make it cross browser, but in the long run the div/css layout has a lot to work on before you see it being adopted as anything more than a side note for those who want to show off their skills. Right now CSS because of its major lack of vertical control is far less stable than the table structure, yes we are told you should burn in hell for even thinking of using tables, but on the end note it works, and quite frankly If I am going to get more stable results at the the price of not promoting the great CSS, than I can get over it. I am glad CSS has had 10 years and a congratulations are in order for them, but please if you are going to promise the end of an era or style try to make sure you can back it up with proof like the decline of nearly every major dynamic web software relying on tables to ensure stability (with CMS's trying to move to the div, the BBS stuck in a rut because css/divs just don't seem to help do them well
    • by bwy (726112)
      I agree 100%. I don't do a lot of HTML work- but I seem to have a project every year or so. For the past several years I've started each project fresh thinking "this is the time I quick using tables!" and it never fails- I spend days trying to make a div layout work. My deadline approaches and I end up using tables again.

      Who the heck is behind this "table is dead" mentality? Personally, I dislike CSS. It leaves guys like me in the cold. What do I mean? In my experience CSS isn't as easy or usable
      • by melikamp (631205)

        In my experience CSS isn't as easy or usable by people who code HTML by hand- especially on a casual basis.

        What the heck do you mean? I always coded all of my HTML by hand (it's not much, but it's something), and when I discovered CSS I thought that it was contrived by Jesus and designed by Moses himself. Look, ma, I can change the color of all links, on all pages on my website, by fixing this one value.

        I know, I'm a lazy bastard. You guys probably just go into the Perl interaction mode and fix it with

    • by growse (928427)

      Because by using a table as a stylistic and not a semantic element, you're depriving me of the ability and the choice of viewing your page without any styling at all. For a well designed page, I should be able to switch all styling off and have the content presented to me in a logical, sensible manner. If you use tables and I switch CSS off, I've suddenly got a whole bunch of information presented in a table for absolutely no reason. People aren't saying "Don't use the table", they're saying "Don't use the

  • by scdeimos (632778) on Tuesday December 19, 2006 @08:38PM (#17307680)
    Nice to know that not even W3C can afford to spell check everything: teached CSS [w3.org]. It's not just /. editors! :)
  • I just had some experience with the CSS validator (http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/validator.htm l .en [w3.org]) since I tried to make my new pages CSS compliant. First even if I choose "English" on the front page the results are in "German". My dear, before making pages conform to standards they should first be functional correct. How could W3C put up such a silly beginners mistake.

    Yet whenever an error is spotted the resulting error message is more or less useless.

    td,th,tr{
    • by J0nne (924579)

      td,th,tr{
      align:left;
      vertical-align:baseline;
      }

      Perhaps you meant 'text-align [w3schools.com]'? There's no 'align' in css (and browsers don't even support it, I've tested it). Now, it basically says "align doesn't exist, you dummy. Use something el

  • From reading the comments, I'm guessing I'm the only one who doesn't really think CSS is that hard to understand. Yeah, the implementations are clumsy, and it lacks in some important areas, but holy mother of balls is it preferable to me over editing 4000 font tags in a website. The syntax is kinda ugly, but compared a lot of the other syntaxes in the web world (javascript, I'm looking at you) it's clean and sleek. Sheesh.

    I think a huge problem is that a lot of people use CSS like they use font tags - in

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