W3C maintains modular progress towards CSS 3

The W3C has published a Working Draft of the multi-column layout module for CSS3.

The draft describes how to allow content to flow from one column to another, specify column width, and allow the number of columns to vary, all depending on available space.

W3C notes that using CSS to style columns is more flexible than table mark-up as they can more easily be presented on a variety of output devices including speech synthesisers and small mobile devices.

But while tables are supported by each and every Web browser, CSS 3 remains a work in progress. Eight years in progress, in fact, since work began after CSS 2 was finalised in 1998.

The delay has been caused in large part by the need to update and fix errors in CSS 2. The resultant CSS 2.1 specification had been completed in 2004, but was returned to Working Draft status in part to accommodate changes to the way in which browsers handle CSS code.

However the introduction of CSS 3 should not be so drawn out. The specification has been broken down into modules than can be implemented separately over time.

‘Rather than attempting to shove dozens of updates into a single monolithic specification, it will be much easier and more efficient to be able to update individual pieces of the specification,’ the Cascading Style Sheets Working Group roadmap explains. ‘Modules will enable CSS to be updated in a more timely and precise fashion, thus allowing for a more flexible and timely evolution of the specification as a whole.’

The Media Queries model is the latest to attain Candidate Recommendation status. This will enable specific stylesheets to be applied to specific devices so that content can be tailored to different size devices without changing the content itself. The status of all the CSS 3 Modules are listed in the Current Work table.

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