Standards-compliant is a term often used in describing websites & user agents' (often web browsers) relative compliance with web standards proposed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C); also used for stressing out that one doesn't use proprietary methods or features. Although there is no perfect browser that seamlessly adheres to all standards at the time being, huge advancement has been made by several major web browsers (such as Mozilla Firefox and Opera) in the past few years that will ensure better interoperability in the future.

Current use of the term "standards-compliance" generally refers to the adherence to coding practices in relation to the use of HTML or XHTML, with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to define the layout, colors, and fonts of a web page. The Web Standards Project (WaSP) is a group, mainly comprised of experienced web developers, whose mission is to encourage the use of these standards globally. Their recent efforts have been to promote the use of and adherence to the CSS 2.0 web standard by browsers, including how browsers respond to invalid markup/styles. The tests developed by WaSP are called Acid1, Acid2, and Acid3, with each testing CSS1, CSS2, and CSS2+ (CSS2 + Client-Side Scripting), respectively.


The purpose of the CSS 2.0 web standard is to keep data separate from its format, to maximize portability and interoperability. To see how the CSS 2.0 standards could be applied, consider the following HTML:
<H1 color="lime" align="center">Horses</H1>
<P color="yellow" bgcolor="black">These magnificent creatures can...</P>
In this example, the data is not separated from its formatting. To make this example CSS 2.0 compliant, the above code would look something like this:
h1 { color: lime; text-align: center; } p { color: yellow; background-color: black; }

  <p>These magnificent creatures can...</p>
In this example, you can see that the data has been separated from its formatting, so it's easy to tell that the colors and alignment are not related to the data at all, but are only used for formatting. All browsers that are 100% CSS 2.0 compliant should display the latter example (almost) identically.

Modern web browsers currently under development, or recently released (Opera 9, Mozilla Firefox 3, Microsoft Internet Explorer 8, Safari 2) fully support the CSS 2.0 standard.

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