Cascading Style Sheets Have Changed the Face of the Web
This year the World Wide Web Consortium proudly celebrates
the ten years of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS),
the technology designers use to create attractive,
economical, and flexible Web sites.
CSS success derives from its numerous benefits to designers.
The first benefit is the rich feature set. Using a simple
declarative style, designers can set positioning, margins
and alignment, layering, colors, text styling, list
numbering, and much more. Furthermore, writing direction,
font styles, and other conventions differ from one written
language to another. CSS supports an increasing number of
different typographic traditions and has made significant
progress toward being able to display multilingual
The second benefit is reuse. Style sheets can be shared by
multiple pages, making it easy to update an entire site by
changing a single line of CSS. Because style sheets can be
cached, this can mean improved performance as well.
CSS promotes accessibility in a number of ways, without
compromising design. Separating markup from style enables
accessibility agents to convey information according to the
needs of users with disabilities. The CSS design strikes a
good balance between author and user needs, enabling users
to make use of more pages. Style sheets also reduce
dependency on using HTML tables for layout, which can be a
barrier to some users with disabilities using assistive
technologies such as screen readers.
A related CSS benefit is easier cross-media publishing; the
same document may be viewed with different devices (from
large color monitors to mobile phones to printers) simply by
applying the appropriate style sheet. Software can choose
the most appropriate style sheet automatically (as suggested
by the style sheet author), and allow the user to choose
from among available style sheets to meet that individual&apo;s
CSS is commonly used to style HTML and can also be used with
XML documents as a complement to W3C&apo;s XSL.
In cartography, CSS can be used for the styling of SVG data.