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Created: May 13, 2004.
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W3C Releases Candidate Recommendation for CSS3 Basic User Interface Module.

A CSS3 Basic User Interface Module Candidate Recommendation edited by Tantek Çelik has been published by the W3C CSS Working Group as part of the W3C Style Activity.

This CSS Candidate Recommendation "describes those user interface related selectors, properties and values that are proposed for CSS level 3 to style HTML and XML, including XHTML and XForms. It includes and extends user interface related features from the selectors, properties and values of CSS level 2 revision 1 and Selectors specifications. The module addresses element fragments, forms, stylistic attributes in HTML, focus navigation, and styling elements as icons for accessibility."

Three other CSS Candidate Recommendations were released by the CSS Working Group earlier this year: Cascading Style Sheets, Level 2 Revision 1. CSS 2.1 Specification, CSS Print Profile, and CSS3 Paged Media Module.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is "a language for describing the rendering of HTML and XML documents on screen, on paper, in speech, etc. It uses various selectors, properties and values to style basic user interface elements in a document."

The CSS3 Basic User Interface Module will remain at Candidate Recommendation level at least until 11-November-2004, providing opportunity for additional interoperability testing. "A test suite and a report on implementations will be provided before the document becomes a Proposed Recommendation. One of the Candidate Recommendation Exit Criteria for this CSS specification is that there must be at least two interoperable implementations for every feature."

Bibliographic Information

CSS3 Basic User Interface Module. W3C Candidate Recommendation 11-May-2004. Edited by Tantek Çelik (Microsoft Corporation). Version URL: Latest version URL: Previous version URL:

CSS3 Basic User Interface Module Overview

From the Overview and Introduction:

"CSS3 is a set of modules, divided up and profiled in order to simplify the specification, and to allow implementors the flexibility of supporting the particular modules appropriate for their implementations.

This document is one of the "modules" for the upcoming CSS3 specification. It not only describes the user interface related properties and values that already exist in CSS1 and CSS2.1, but introduces new properties and values for CSS3 as well. The Working Group doesn't expect that all implementations of CSS3 will implement all properties or values. Instead, there will probably be a small number of variants of CSS3, so-called "profiles".

This document is the result of the merging of relevant parts of the following Recommendations and Working Drafts, and the addition of some new features: (1) Cascading Style Sheets, level 2, revision 1, and (2) User Interface for CSS3 (16 February 2000).

This specification contains:

  • Pseudo-classes and pseudo-elements to style user interface states and element fragments respectively. Additions to the user interface features in CSS2.1
  • The ability to style the appearance of various standard form elements in languages such as HTML/XHTML/XForms (and properties to augment or replace some of the remaining stylistic attributes in HTML4/XHTML1)
  • Directional focus navigation properties
  • A mechanism to allow the styling of elements as icons for accessibility

This module describes selectors and CSS properties which enable authors to style user interface related states, element fragments, properties and values. Section 2.1 of CSS1 and Chapter 18 of CSS2 introduced several user interface related pseudo-classes, properties and values. Section 6.6.4 of Selectors also describes several additional user interface related pseudo-classes (and one pseudo-element). This Working Draft extends them to provide the ability, through CSS, to style elements based upon additional user interface states, to style fragments of user interface elements, and to alter the dynamic presentation of elements in ways previously only available through specific HTML4/XHTML1 elements and attributes...

Purpose. The purpose of this specification is to achieve the following objectives:

  • Extend the user interface features in CSS2.1
  • Provide additional CSS mechanisms to simulate the appearance of various standard form elements
  • Provide additional CSS mechanisms to augment or replace other dynamic presentation related features in HTML4/XHTML1
  • Introduce directional navigation properties to assist in the construction of user interfaces which make use of a directional navigation model
  • Introduce properties and values to specify icon presentations for elements to enhance accessibility

Principal references:

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