Snapshot 2007 is not CSS2.2 | October 26, 2007

While browsing my feeds the other day, I got really excited by this post on the CSS working group blog.

There was a lot of discussion earlier this year around Andy Budd’s proposal for a CSS2.2. The basic premise was that the Web needs a halfway point between CSS2 and The Complete CSS3 that is taking forever, so that the key features web developers need now can happen sooner. The structure of CSS3 is actually set up so that this can happen, but the CSS Working Group has realized that this is far from obvious to anyone outside the working group. So we’ve decided to publish a CSS2.2.

Wow, I thought to myself, I can’t believe that the W3C are going to implement an interim specification. That’s fantastic news!

Unfortunately, despite the attention grabbing headline, Snapshot 2007 doesn’t appear to be anything approaching CSS2.2. What I was hoping for was a list of all the selectors, properties and values that the working group felt were stable and ready for implementation. That way, browser manufacturers could start implementing and testing new features, under the knowledge that they weren’t going to change. Similarly, us web developers could start playing with these features and baking them into our more avant guarde projects.

Unless I’m very much mistaken, Snapshot 2007 doesn’t do this. Instead, it’s more of a “State of the Union” address that gives a general indication of where CSS3 is, without supplying the necessary level of detail. While it’s nice to see the “introduction” and “table of contents”, what I want to see is CSS 2007: The Definitive Spec.

Hopefully that will be coming soon.

Posted at October 26, 2007 4:54 PM


Gareth Rushgrove said on October 26, 2007 7:49 PM

(Unfortunately) you need to to read W3Cese. The 2007 Snapshop is at Working Draft stage (which gives us Last Call Working Draft, Candidate Recommendation, Proposed Recommendation and Recommendation to go). It’s also down as a medium priority for the working group:

What it does indicate is that, when this hits Candidate Recommendation (so lets for the moment assume when it hits Recommendation as well) it should contain:

The only problem I see here is with it being set as a medium priority task, and no indication I can find given to when we can expect this to hit Recommendation. Sometime this year? Next year (sort of making the name a bit silly).

You could also ask why Paged Media and Print Profile (both at LC pending CR) and Media Queries (CR pending PR) are not included in the snapshot? Probably a good reason here but maybe one not included on the current work page.

xxdesmus said on October 27, 2007 2:31 AM

This is wonderful news! I agree though, we need more details before we really have something to get excited about. Either way, slow progress is still some progress. Thanks for heads up!

Jim Callender said on October 27, 2007 10:26 AM

This is a step in the right direction, well done for continuing to push forward your ideas forward.

Agreed, it would be good to have a definitive list we can add to our CSS knowledge and contribute as a community to everyones benefit.

At the moment, CSS3 is only a tiny way there in Safari, right?

With this W3C proposal, we can only ‘look forward’ to pushing the boundary of usable and scalable web apps, and moving with the future support in nextgen browsers. And not actually get our hands dirty and do it!

Trouble is, waiting for W3C drafts is liking waiting for new version of IE to come out.. Long and painful!

All eyes on the CSS working group..

fantasai said on October 30, 2007 3:18 AM

Andy, why do you want us to repeat the full prose of each spec in a new document? What does that accomplish? You can get the list of properties and the definitions for each property and value and selector by following the links to the specs where they’re defined. Were you expecting a property index or what?

Andy Budd said on October 30, 2007 6:26 PM

Sorry Fantasai, maybe I’m confused and have missed something here. So where in your CSS Snapshot 2007 document does it tell me which parts of the text module are stable and ripe for implementation? Should IE start to implement text-shadow or is this likely to change before the module is officially released. Does it make sense to hold the implementation of text-shadow back if it’s stable, just because you haven’t got some of the more obscure properties sorted out yet?

fantasai said on October 30, 2007 10:00 PM

ATM, I don’t think anything in CSS3 Text is considered stable enough to implement except “text-align: start” and “text-align: end”. ‘text-shadow’ is covered under REC-CSS2. The stuff in Backgrounds and Borders is definitely not stable enough for implementation without a vendor extension, although it’s probably fairly safe to implement with one (i.e. updates to the definitions probably won’t require major changes to the implementation but could be incompatible with previous drafts).

As I wrote on, we’re not opposed to adding individual properties and values to the Snapshots, just didn’t feel it was appropriate for this one. I’ve got a writeup on CSS draft stability somewhere, I should dig that out and post it… For the most part we’re aiming to trim the drafts and push unstable features into the next level rather than pull forward only one or two sections from a 10-section module.

Gareth Rushgrove said on November 4, 2007 1:46 PM

Hi Andy

A quote from the doc:

At the time this specification enters Candidate Recommendation, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is defined by the following specifications: * CSS Level 2 Revision 1 (including errata)
* Selectors Level 3
* CSS Namespaces
* CSS Color Level 3

So, once we get through last call working draft to candidate recommendation we should be able to use these without having to go back and change things later. No date on that that I’ve seen though.

With regards things like text-shadow, it looks like until all of the Text module is finished we won’t see it finalised. It appears that Individual properties won’t be in the snapshots - just whole modules.

fantasai said on November 6, 2007 2:22 PM

AFAIK the only part of the CSS3 Text module that is stable is ‘text-align’. Text-shadow is already at CR status due to its being in REC-CSS2, which is why it can be implemented without a vendor extension. Its definition is not very precise, however, and if you look at the current CSS3 Text draft you can see that there are still open issues. Its spec is not stable.

As I wrote on, the WG isn’t opposed to listing individual features. We just didn’t come up with any that fit with this Snapshot.