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Summary:

While at SXSW, I had the opportunity to meet one of the web’s founding fathers, Håkon Wium Lie. He’s the creator of CSS and a CERN alum, along with Tim Berners-Lee. He’s also the CTO of Opera Software and sang the praises of this underdog browser that, while often ignored, introduced some of the snazziest features in the browser world today. Lie and I discussed CSS3 and the upcoming Opera 10, currently in alpha, that will continue Opera’s tradition of innovation.

opera-browser-faster-safer-internet-free-downloadWhile at SXSW, I had the opportunity to meet one of the web’s founding fathers, Håkon Wium Lie. He’s the creator of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and a CERN alum, along with Tim Berners-Lee. He’s also the CTO of Opera Software, and sang the praises of this underdog browser that, while often ignored, introduced some of the snazziest features in the browser world today. Lie and I discussed CSS3 and the upcoming Opera 10, currently in alpha, that will continue Opera’s tradition of innovation.

Web designers have long been using CSS to customize font size, style, family, backgrounds and layouts across a site. CSS3 brings a much more powerful feature set to those designers, including:

Text shadows, borders, shaped borders, boxes with shadows. No longer will you have to fancy up fonts as graphics files and embed them. Also, because of the detailed specifications for shaping a border, gone are the days of struggling with rounded corners. You can set the radius for each corner and voila!

css3-module_-web-fontsWeb fonts. Yes, you can now specify the font you want to use in CSS3, and the browser will auto-download it if it’s not already installed. No longer are you at the mercy of the fonts your users have installed.

CSS3 also offers transitions for dynamic effects such as changing the size, color or positioning of text by hovering your cursor over it. Move over Flash and JavaScript effects: CSS3 has got these animation-like features covered.

The current version of Opera already supports parts of CSS3, while support in Opera 10 will be even greater. Opera 10 beta should be available in the next few months.

Lie also showed me an e-book designed entirely using CSS3. The CSS took care if all of the intricate printing layout details, like pagination, that would normally be handled by something like Adobe InDesign. Fascinating.

Opera, Mozilla and Safari will all fully support CSS3 in the future; indeed, they have all had partial support for the standard for a while now. The lone party pooper is IE, of course. Lie is hoping web developers will rally together to ignore IE in their development strategies and, “free yourself from the IE prison.” A noble cause, but probably not realistic just yet. Personally, I haven’t used IE for eons (especially as a Mac user). However, many of my clients  are still adamant that IE is their visitors’ most popular browser.

Check out this live video demo of CSS3 by Lie at SXSW:


Håkon Wium Lie from Opera Software Demos CSS3 from WebWorkerDaily on Vimeo.

What are your thoughts on CSS3? And how likely do you think it is that we’ll be able to banish IE from our web design work in the future?

  1. Victor Vasconcelos Friday, March 27, 2009

    Opera never ceases to amaze me. It’s a shame lots of websites don’t support it.

    If only userscripts were easier to install, though…

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  2. @Victor I have tons of admiration for the Opera team and what they do, despite having tiny marketshare. As a browser though, it’s never really “clicked” with me, so I don’t use it.

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  3. I also love fast Opera but as of yesterday, Opera is suddenly incompatible with The New York Times online. Opera can’t download some videos and advertising there so the NYTimes website doesn’t fully open and is frozen. Opera users in their Opera forum were puzzled yesterday and tried to discuss what the problem was but Opera censors shut down the thread. Is Opera afraid of users pointing out that Opera isn’t opening some websites?? I now am using Firefox 3.0.8 as my main browser. I phoned the NYTimes online division and informed them of the Opera’s incompatibility problem. I’m disappointed that Opera didn’t permit me to post what I found out in their Opera Community Forum. They shut it down as a “sticky” posting.

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  4. As long as companies continue to deny user any browser except IE, most visitors on week days will be using IE.

    Personally I write for Firefox, check that it looks OK in IE, Opera & Safari, and call it good. 99% of the time there is so little difference between what each one shows that it doesn’t really matter.

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  5. @Dewey, I saw that thread, if it’s the same you are referring to. It wasn’t “censored”. It’s fully visible in the forum!

    Also, there’s already an existing thread on NYTimes which is NOT closed:

    http://my.opera.com/community/forums/topic.dml?id=271422

    Your thread clearly broke the rules. So why are you complaining about a thread which clearly broke the rules being closed?

    If you don’t want your thread to be closed, just follow the rules.

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  6. [...] There is also better support for web technologies such as HTML5 and downloadable fonts (check out our interview with Opera’s Håkon Wium Lie for a demonstration of why these will rock). This beta is available in more than 70 [...]

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  7. [...] downloadable fonts, definitely check out the video interview with Opera’s Håkon Wium Lie, found here, on why they’re important. Essentially, these can give you access to thousands of slick fonts [...]

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  8. [...] is a brand-new (and much improved) interface designed by the talented Jon Hicks. Opera Software prides itself on the standards-compliance of its browser, so you’d expect the new version to be good in this department. Indeed, the new version gets [...]

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  9. @Victor,
    Search the Opera forums for userjs manager. The latest version makes userjs installation a loveable breeze.

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  10. [...] 3.5 has support for web fonts (check out this video of Opera CTO Håkon Wium Lie demonstrating web fonts to Aliza), and you can find a good demonstration of how to use them and some of the new CSS features in the [...]

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