A Bit of Speculation

Before we let you go, here are a few more stylish things that may interest you. The goal (or pipe dream) of the W3C is to create a platform-independent method to control the appearance of a Web (or SGML) document. With CSS, the W3C has taken a large step in that direction, but other issues must be considered while establishing such a new standard.

* Some parties have voiced considerable interest in creating a public style sheet server, where standard, general-use style sheets could be housed. The notion is that this practice may encourage users to use widely accepted and broadly compatible style sheets. Creating a core set of style sheets as a basis for most Web creations is a good idea, however but forced conformity is what provoked the HTML extension war in the first place. Also, the load placed on a “world wide style sheet server” would be overwhelming, even with lots of mirrors — further diminishing the free bandwidth available on the Internet.

* A second issue that's often discussed is the extra lag or transfer time associated with long or complex style sheets. It's not hard to imagine a style sheet (<LINK>ed or included in the <HEAD>) running 50K or more, especially if the author is “layout happy.” Although restraint should be practiced, using common style sheets or the same style sheet over an entire Web site doesn't have to significantly increase the time needed to transfer and view Web pages. After a <LINK>ed or imported style sheet is cached, a user can quickly recall that style sheet whenever it's needed in another document.

* A third and extremely important issue is media-specific style sheets. Most Web content is designed for presentation through a graphical browser viewed by people on a computer monitor. The influences of the Web are quickly expanding beyond pixel-based displays, however. Print, fax, Braille, audio, and other publication media must also be considered for Web content presentation.

Ideas for implementing media-specific style sheets include on-the-fly style cascading by viewing clients, standardized formats available on Web servers, and native browser support for alternate media types. This is an area of style sheet standardization that is sure to attract a lot of attention in upcoming months. Stay tuned for further details.

Suffice it to say that CSS has already made a significant impact on the Web publishing world, even before a final standard has been produced. If you stay tuned to your favorite Web company or Internet news service, you can keep abreast of the latest advancements and implementations in style sheets. Now that you've had a tag and entity rundown and can see the future of HTML style, you can move onto writing basic HTML pages. That's what were here for after all isn't it?

Previous Section | For HTML, Style Is Its Own Reward! | Extras TOC

E-Mail: HTML for Dummies at html4dum@lanw.com

URL: http://www.lanw.com/html4dum/h4d3e/extras/ch11sec6.htm 
Text - Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1997 Ed Tittel & Stephen N. James. 
For Dummies, the Dummies Man logo and Dummies Press are trademarks or registered trademarks of Wiley Publishing, Inc. Used with Permission.
Web Layout - Copyright © 1997, LANWrights
Revised -- May, 2002 [MCB]