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Trident and Javascript Style Sheets

"W3C has received multiple proposals on Web page scripting APIs from member organizations. None of these proposes new style sheets technology: they propose only to animate existing style sheets with scripting technology."

Håkon Lie, 14 November 1996


DSSSL (Document Style Semantics and Specification Language) is the international standard programming language for stylesheets and document transformations. It is not a fixed, descriptive style language but rather an arbitrarily extensible programming language for creating complete two-dimensional presentational environments. DSSSL is fully internationalized and designed to support left-to-right, right-to-left, and top-to-bottom scripts equally well.


See the DSSSL home page maintained by James Clark. A PostScript copy of the DSSSL standard, ISO/IEC 10179:1996, is available, and an earlier and almost identical committee draft of the same document is available online.


DSSSL Online (dsssl-o) is a minimum subset (application profile) of full DSSSL designed for easy implementation in editors and online browsers. It can also be used in the design of stylesheets for printing out simple one-column page layouts but does not include certain features used in Asian languages or the sophisticated multicolumn, multidirectional page model of full DSSSL. The dsssl-o application profile specification is available as dssslo.htm, and (These files can also be obtained using anonymous FTP.)

James's DSSSL Engine (Jade)

Jade is a free DSSSL engine that implements all of dsssl-o and some useful extensions to the simple page model, such as multiple columns. The latest copy of Jade, including Win32 binaries and all of the source files, is maintained at the Jade homepage.

Jade binaries for other platforms are intermittently compiled and made available by ftp. Jade has specifically been designed to support the construction of multiple output modules (both print and online). The implementation of Jade in online environments is a particularly fertile area for experimentation at the moment. Interested developers should consult the Jade sources and documentation at for further details.

Sample stylesheets

A DSSSL stylesheet that can be used with Jade to print out HTML documents conforming to the HTML 3.2 specification is available.

The HTML stylesheet is a useful example of how a true stylesheet programming language can be used to implement features such as autonumbering, pagination, and the automatic generation of headers, footers, and tables of contents.

DSSSL information adapted from a fact sheet written by Jon Bosak, Online Information Technology Architect, Sun Microsystems. Used with permission.

this page was last updated 30 June 1997
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Microsoft Typography | CSS Gallery | Others