While 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!
Web 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.
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:
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?