HTML and CSS Reference
and the rest of the working group agreed. At this point, XHTML2 was
put on hold and everyone was able to agree that the future of the web
would be HTML5 .
CSS2 evolves into CSS3
While all this was going on in the world of markup, work was continu-
ing on CSS at the W3C in the form of CSS Level 3, or CSS3 for short.
CSS3 also tried to correct a number of past mistakes in drafting specifi-
cations, starting with fixing CSS2 .
The CSS2 specification had been through the 1998 standards process
and thus had no implementation feedback before being published as a
Recommendation. As vendors tried to implement it, a number of issues
were found that made it impossible, or impractical, to achieve compli-
ance with the standard.
CSS 2.1 set out to rectify those mistakes and provide a solid, imple-
mentable base on which to build CSS3 . The work to set CSS 2.1 right
has taken more than eight years, but was finally completed in June
2011. But the timing of this was unfortunate. IE6 was released in
August 2001, a few years after the CSS2 publication but a year before
the first draft of CSS 2.1 . This is significant because IE6 is the browser
that won the first round of the browser wars. It achieved 83% market
share by 2004 as Netscape collapsed. With no competition, Microsoft
wound up IE development; the web would be stuck on IE6 for many
years. In comparison to the two-year-or-less gap between most previ-
ous IE releases, it would be nearly five years before IE7 appeared.
Even though IE6 had good support for CSS2 compared to other brows-
ers available in 2001, it soon fell behind standards.
CSS3 is modular; it's split into sections such as Backgrounds and Bor-
ders, Values and Units, and Text Layout. This means that instead of
waiting years for a huge, monolithic standard to be finalized, as has
happened with CSS 2.1 , less controversial and more useful sections can
be prioritized and pushed through the standards process more quickly.
In the meantime, until a particular module is ready, the corresponding
section of the CSS 2.1 spec is regarded as the current standard.