Talk:Cascading Style Sheets/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

could use some work

This article could use some work. In particular, the bits about HTML compared with CSS seem out-of-place (or at the very least, need to be in a separate section). Also, if we're going to try to list all the capabilities provided by CSS1 (and CSS2 and CSS3, eventually), this article is going to be huge, and basically a reproduction of the w3c specs. Not very encyclopedic. The discussion of problems with browsers adhering to the spec could stand to have its own section, as well. The diagram showing box properties seems unnecessary, especially since it serves only to illustrate the width bug in MSIE. As it stands, the article reads more like a rudimentary how-to than an article about what CSS is.

Off the cuff, I think the following sections would help divide up the article nicely and make it more encyclopedic:

  • 1) Overview of what CSS does. Not too specific; some nice generalizations about how CSS enables presentation/content separation, flexibility and customizability, better accessibility, etc.
  • 2) Origins, history, development of CSS, how stylesheets were originally envisioned by Tim Berners-Lee in about 1994, and how they progressed over time to become a standard
  • 3) Some mention of the difficulties in getting the standards widely accepted and used in practice, and particularly in getting browsers to implement them.

-- Wapcaplet 17:47 2 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I agree that the article needs restructuring and enhancement. I would like to see as a fourth point and fith point

  • 4) Generalized description how the versions CSS1, CSS2 and CSS3 differ
  • 5) Some examples - use in HTML and XML (and other languages / systemes?)

The box diagram could go under point 3. Actually that bug (or misinterpretation of the standard) on a very basic issue by the major browser manufacturer prevents the use of many CSS features. From a web author point of view the issue is very important; basically it is a go-no-go criteria if you want to have a consistent look across all platforms.

--Hirzel 18:38 2 Jul 2003 (UTC)

True, but it can be hacked by taking advantage of another MSIE bug :-) I think this issue is pretty minor, though, and doesn't deserve more than a mention here. We could devote volumes to all the things that are broken in various versions of MSIE, and even more to the bugs, mis-implementations, misinterpretations, and just plain unavoidable differences between browsers that make consistent presentation impossible.

Your (4) and (5) points above look good, but I think we should try to keep examples to a minimum, especially since the specification does those quite well already.

-- Wapcaplet 18:55 2 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I've written a draft of (1), (2), and part of (3). "Difficulty with Adoption" onwards needs quite a bit of refactoring; it may also be good to throw in a (very) simple example towards the beginning, in order to show what a CSS document looks like. -- Wapcaplet 01:57 3 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Thank you for that you have done so far. I like it! --Hirzel 09:08 3 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Heh. I spent too long editing and got logged out. was me. I've refactored the rest and touched up the existing stuff. Could use a little more in the way of distinction between CSS1/2/3, and the whole thing probably needs some touch-up work; part (5) is not yet written. It's starting to shape up, though :-) -- Wapcaplet 12:57 3 Jul 2003 (UTC)

So, what was wrong with this link?

Beats me. It's (IMHO) better-formatted and easier to read than the W3C docs, so I put it back in. -- Wapcaplet 20:29, 9 May 2004 (UTC)
Had to take it off - I read the license carelessly. After that I didn't get a permission to distribute it when I was enlightened and asked for it.

divisor versus division

Re: divisor versus division: As far as I know, "div" stands for neither (the HTML spec does not elaborate on its intended meaning); it is simply a block-level container, so calling it a "division" isn't really accurate anyhow. I am not very comfortable with much of the "Common Pitfalls" section anyhow. Most of it seems to focus on what can go wrong when one doesn't understand how to use CSS appropriately, but to me that is hardly a pitfall of the language itself. The "undocumented and forgotten class name" thing is wholly unrelated to CSS itself, and instead is more an instance of bad programming practice. I, for one, would be in favor of severely trimming this section. I'll likely do it myself unless there are some objections. -- Wapcaplet 01:21, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Wapcaplet wrote "I think this issue (the MSIE box problem) is pretty minor, though, and doesn't deserve more than a mention here". Mate, I can't believe you wrote that! It is the major issue standing in the way of a standards-based Internet that uses modern, portable, flexible CSS instead of the unreadable spagetti code of nested tables within tables and all that other bandwidth-hogging crap. No-one who has ever tried to code a non-trivial amount of CSS-based cross-browser HTML would say that. Sorry to be so blunt, but if you watch people trying to learn CSS and see how confused and despondent they get when they run into incomprehensible and bizare stuff like the Tantek hack (a thing that you can't code decent pages without) you'll see what I mean. It is a major major barrier to progress. Tannin 10:05, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I can't be sure, since it was a long time ago that I wrote that, but I think what I meant is that in relation to discussing CSS, the issue is minor. MSIE mis-implementing CSS (even in such a significant way) does not contribute a large piece of data to discussion of the CSS language. In the history of Microsoft mis-implementing things in its software, it's probably one of thousands, but certainly one with major impact.
I totally agree that the bug is a major impediment to progress, but I don't think it is any more an impediment to the adoption of CSS than the uneasiness and resistance to change that the average table-taught web designer felt with its (CSS) introduction. I find it hard to believe that any experienced web designer would be surprised or despondent at the Tantek hack; browser workarounds have been a significant part of HTML authoring since forever, and to me the amount of spaghetti CSS created by the Tantek hack is tiny in comparison with the spaghetti HTML that we had before CSS. MSIE's mis-implementation does not affect the inherent usefulness of CSS; just the short-term practicality of it. -- Wapcaplet 21:45, 10 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Trimming the pitfalls

As per my comment above, I've finally decided to slice out a few chunks of the "Common pitfalls" section. Here's why:

  • Paragraph "Another problem are unspecified, undocumented, and often forgotten class-names..." Many programmers choose inappropriate class names, do not document properly, and so on; this is wholly irrelevant to discussing CSS. Wikilinks to words like footer, footnote, explanation are just silly. Other issues mentioned in this para. are already covered elsewhere in the article.
  • Paragraph "Complexity of HTML is another possible problem..." Again, programmers who choose to descend into spaghettification do so at their own peril; this has nothing to do with the merits, flaws, or common pitfalls of CSS. We don't need to list all the ways that a programmer might misuse CSS.
  • Paragraph "Yet another pitfall is ... so-called CSS hacks..." This is already covered elsewhere. The necessity of hacks with certain software is a ubiquity in the programming world; refer to my comment above re: MSIE for elaboration on why I don't think it's of paramount importance to understanding CSS.
  • Paragraph "Lastly there is a tendency of CSS designers to mistake the layout easily to be achieved with the layout a reader might prefer..." I have no idea what this paragraph is trying to get at. Good design isn't easy? Easy design is bad? I don't think a discussion of design sensibilities has much to do with understanding CSS either.

The two paragraphs that now remain may be questionable as well, but I think they belong for the following reasons:

  • Paragraph "CSS may at times be misused..." emphasizes the broader fact that CSS has many features that may be overlooked by developers accustomed to HTML-only design, and I think more succinctly covers the issue of possible spaghetti code and maintenance issues better than any of the removed paragraphs did.
  • Paragraph "CSS shares some pitfalls common with programming languages..." could be trimmed further, but I think it summarizes well the problem of class/variable naming.

Objections or comments? -- Wapcaplet 19:40, 17 Oct 2004 (UTC)

  • I don't think that generic programming language problems belong in here. Programming language pages, such as ones of Pascal, Java or Scheme, do not appear to list "user could provide a stupid variable name" as a frequent kind of problem. I don't think CSS is affected by poor class name choice any more than Java or Scheme is. I killed that beast and replaced it with something that actually tries to list *actual* shortcomings of CSS. Should we add lack of element reordering in there, or that's too close to stepping on toes of XSLT? []

Computer language

I restored the bit in the intro that CSS is a computer language. A computer language need not be a programming language. I think this makes for a better definition, since "style sheet mechanism" is broad, and does not tell us about what CSS is; CSS is primarily a language. -- Wapcaplet 17:20, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)

External Links

ummm... too long? - Frank 00:09, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)

  • Yes. I've culled some of them. I removed links to two German pages (since this is the English Wikipedia; it would make more sense for the German article to link to them); another link was to a very short example on generating a menu with CSS; another was a generalized web-design link-collection, not CSS-specific; another was a 3-year-old article on how to design without tables; another was a link to two short scripts. The remaining ones seem fairly useful and relevant, though I didn't look at them in much detail. -- Wapcaplet 01:37, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Well somebody needed to do it... a lot shorter now, you did a great job. - Frank 21:13, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)
    • I cleaned it up a little bit too. I deleted the documentation section. The entire section was made of W3C links. Another link above that section goes straight too the Wikipedia W3C page. I also got rid of the less important Tanfa links, and summed them up in the home page and Hack link. Again, I shortened the number of links going to I also added CSS Vault and got rid of some others. If needed please revert --Zeerus 17:03, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

I just reverted the removal of external links... I don't thnk the list was that long and included many useful/relevant resources. -- 05:13, 13 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Please read Wikipedia:External links. --W(t) 14:11, 2005 Jun 13 (UTC)

I want to suggest the CSS section of my website located at for the external links section. It's relatively new, but has alot of information. The information is up to date and the content is well written.

CSS Editors section/list?

I am curious as to why there seems to be no section here or elsewhere in WP (that I've found anyway) of CSS development tools or editors. Quite a few tools exist, and most would definitely fit better under such a list than under places like HTML Editor since they are CSS-centric, and may in fact not offer HTML editing. Others like TopStyle offer both. Thoughts? If it is worth doing, should it go as a section here or as a separate page? --jwilkinson 23:38, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

Link Proposal 1

I've created a free online application that allows a user to format a CSS document by simply pasting their CSS into a textbox, selecting preferences, and clicking a button.

No password or download is required; the user may simply paste right into this webpage:

There are several purposes for a tool such as this, but one use is "CSS Decompression". For example, if a developer didn't have their personal tool kit handy, and wanted to evaluate a style sheet that looked like this  :

They could paste this style sheet into the tool, and conform the layout around their own whitespace preferences.

Though CSS formatting is ignored by browsers, it is a topic of interest to human beings who view and edit CSS by hand. Because this resource is for "human beings", and because the topic of formatting "Exists", an encyclopedic resource would be incomplete without mentioning the most common formatting preferences. Additionally, it would be helpful to provide an external link to a versatile tool that prevents a great deal of manual work for those who want to make a style sheet cater to their own preferences.

This tool is free and available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I believe it is a worthy candidate for the external link section.


Lonnie Best 1/13/2006

  • AGAINST - While I do believe that your intent is sincere and you are not trying to earn quick money on it, this tool is not worth mention simply because formatting modification is not vital. There are thousands of such "lukewarm interesting" CSS pages on the web, and including them in link section would be pure insanity. What goes into links section should be more along the lines of "indispensable". 07:41, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

External beginners guide?

I read that if you wanted to be sure not to upset people by adding your external link you should ask first. That's what I'm doing. I'm written a beginners guide to CSS that has gotten a good response from my visitors and people I've shown it to. It's aimed at complete beginners and therefor skips everything that isn't essential. Is it ok if I add it? --Emil Stenström 19:11, 4 February 2006 (UTC)

Suggested Link

May I suggest this link?

New CSS Tutorial

Please consider this CSS tutorial:

It will get you started with CSS in just a few minutes. It is easy to understand and will teach you all the sophisticated techniques.


Andreas Astrup,

I'll take the liberty to add the tutorial to the list. I very much hope the tutorial will stay. But will look forward to all comments.

Regards, Andreas Astrup, -- 08:14, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

Link Suggestion: Aural CSS

I've been compiling all the information I can find on (the very limited) support for aural CSS properties on my site. Anyone think it would be a useful addition? --Dotjay 13:32, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

CSS Tutorial

Before the cleanup (very welcomed!) we use to have a link to the CSS tutorial on

Learn CSS

I would like to add that link again. Any comments on that?


Andreas Astrup,

If I were just learning CSS, and I came across this page, I'd probably consider adding it. It is comparable if not better than some of the w3cschools page tutorials and a little more aimed at the novice than the current 'comprehensive" CSS' external link tutorial. Note: I won't its say more accurate; Lession 8 could be better worded about how the span tag acts (display:inline) Seeing some of the other tutorials out there makes me think this link might be "wikipedia worthy". But I've only had a cursory overview of it.
I tried adding it. Now I understand why you put the slash into the link here on the Talk page. Apparently the link is blacklisted. I'm not sure why. (and frankly I'm not even sure how unless I'm not looking at the whole blacklist) Even though this action is a touch spammy, its relatively good spam IMHO. Now I'm curious. Root4(one) 06:43, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
I did not know that! What does it mean to be blacklisted? How can I see why and by whom? And most importantly how can can I get off the blacklist. It is very strange because we use to have a link to the tutorial.
Anyway, thanks for your comments on lesson 8. I'll look at it.
Regards, Andreas Astrup, —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 08:31, 13 December 2006 (UTC).
Nevermind. It turns out a link (read already in the External links section was blacklisted, and rightly so. As I had never encountered that error before, I had wrongly assumed it was my addition. However it looks like if I do add your NOW I may get into an revision war with Rufous given his recent comments.
I'm not sure I agree with his edits, but again I'd have to review the removed links. I'll wait and see what's up. Root4(one) 16:15, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
Hi Root4(one). I'm not one to get into reversion wars. :) If you feel like adding to the links I won't complain. Rufous 21:56, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
Glad I am not coursing any wars :-) The link has been added.
Thanks, Andreas Astrup, —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 08:36, 14 December 2006 (UTC).
By the way, I think the first sign that the external links are going south again is when somebody starts adding subheadings to the section. Let's try to guard against that. Rufous 17:01, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Link to CSS Reference

I found an excellent CSS reference. It has every thinkable CSS attribute explained and is still very easy to navigate (via the keyboard arrows). What do you think, should we include this in the external links section?-- 00:32, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Link to is a very versatile website about CSS3:

  • it tells about the status of CSS3
  • it gives examples of the new properties and selectors
  • it allows you to test your browser to see which CSS3 selecters it supports
  • it links to articles and interviews related to CSS3. all of these are sorted in categories.

The website has a very clear layout and is written in very easy to understand wordings. I think this link would be a great addition to the external links on the Cascading Style Sheets page. Spellcoder 08:18, 3 July 2007 (UTC)