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In CSS3 First Look, staff author James Williamson provides an in-depth introduction to the newest CSS standard, detailing its modular format, history, and current level of browser support, while also demonstrating its capabilities and applications. The course includes tutorials on using new selectors, modifying typography and color, working with the box model, and understanding media queries. Exercise files accompany the course.
So we know that CSS3 isn't a single standard. It's a collection of modules that extend the core 2.1 specification. So how can you tell what's new, and how far along your favorite CSS3 capability is to being finalized? Well, I am going to recommend a couple of resources that can help you understand what's going on with the development of CSS3. First, I want to recommend the W3C's Introduction to CSS3. Although it was published in 2001, this document does a good job of explaining the logic behind the move towards the modularization of CSS and gives you a list and description of the initial CSS3 modules.
To see where everything is currently, visit the W3C's Cascading Style Sheets' current work page. Here you'll find a complete list of all the CSS modules, their current status, priority, and a timeline for when the module could reach recommendation status. To get a handle on what's going on with CSS3, let's take a minute to explore the current work page. Now first you'll notice that we have a list of modules that split into three groups based on high, medium, and low priority.
Listed beside the modules are its current status and its upcoming revision. If the documents are live on the W3C site, you can simply click the status for the latest version. Clicking on the name of the specification will take you to a brief description of it and a timeline for the specification track. To help make sense of the module's status, it helps if you know the steps a document goes through on its way to recommendation. Documents are first published as a public Working Draft.
This is the stage where most of the collaborative work behind standards is done. As the Working Draft stage comes to a close the standard will go into what they call Last Call. Last Call is essentially a way of letting people know that the standard is about to move to the next stage of testing. So any reviews, edits, or additional implementations need to be done before the proposed timeline. After Last Call, a standard moves on to Candidate Recommendation status.
Although the standard is considered stable at this point, implementations are studied and changes can be made at this state if required. From there, specifications move on to the Proposed Recommendation and Published Recommendation status. Using those as a guide, it's pretty easy to see which modules are stable and which ones still might see significant changes prior to publication. A quick glance shows us that modules such as the CSS3-level Selectors, Multicolumn Layout, Media Queries, and Basic User Interface are the furthest along of the CSS3 specifications and are most likely to be implemented now.
By keeping track of the current state of CSS3 modules and their proposed timelines, you will have a better idea of which aspects of CSS3 to focus on first and which ones you'll need to start paying attention to in the near future. In fact, I will use the same approach for this title. We will take a deeper look at the areas of CSS3 that are the furthest towards recommendation status and are currently being implemented in browsers now. For the other areas of CSS3 that are still very much in development, we will take a broader look at how future implementations might evolve.
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