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Chapter 1. The Birth of CSS > The World Wide Web Consortium Introduces Cascadin...

1.1. The World Wide Web Consortium Introduces Cascading Style Sheets

Tim Berners-Lee created the Web at CERN, and the initial standards for HTML 1.0 and HTML 2.0 were governed by them. But CERN's main focus is particle physics research, not the Web, and so in 1994 CERN abdicated its role as the standards-setting body for HTML. It passed the torch to a newly created body called the World Wide Web Consortium, better known simply as “W3C.” The W3C has convinced major software companies, including Netscape Communications, Microsoft, IBM, Novell, Sun Microsystems and many more, to become members of this standards body. This arrangement provides the software firms with lines of communication to other member firms and to a body recognized as authoritative in the devising and setting of a workable standard for HTML.

The W3C is designed to be a neutral meeting ground, where competing companies can come together to contribute to and comply with future Web standards. The W3C recognized the need to bring some stability to HTML, as the multiple tags introduced during the “browser wars” threatened to introduce widespread incompatibilities into working HTML. The W3C tried to consolidate existing HTML standards, first with the official HTML 3.2 specification, later with the HTML 4.0, and most recently the XHTML 1.0 specification and the XHTML 1.1 recommendation. These specifications adopted many of the HTML tags made popular in both Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, even though these tags often failed to conform to one of HTML's main guiding principles: that markup should reflect the structure of a document rather than its physical layout.


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