Spotlight: The Inventor of CSS

Spotlight: The Inventor of CSS

Håkon Wium Lie is many things. The Oslo based web expert is a keen woodworker, an organic farmer and a politician for The Pirate Party of Norway. He’s also the Chief Technology Officer of Opera Software and the inventor of CSS.

Lie proposed the concept of CSS in 1994 while working with Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). An employee of the World Wide Web Consortium (the organisation for web standards chaired by Tim Berners-Lee) at the time , Lie presented the idea of CSS as a ‘W3C recommendation’. It was first implemented in the Arena Browser and has since been rolled out in varying forms, in every modern web browser.

See the original CSS proposal here

As well as fathering the way we see web pages, Håkon Wium Lie has campaigned for universal standards in the way web browsers show videos and use fonts. In fact, the way all browsers now load and display fonts was his idea.

‘Standards’ is a concept that stuck with Lie, both on and offline. In recent years the inventor of CSS has turned his attention to opposing high rise buildings in his home town of Oslo and has been a strong voice in adding pagination to CSS (Think Flipboard style).

He’s also one person likely to be happy to see the back of Internet Explorer, having been openly opposed to its failure to comply to the standards widely used by other browsers.

Between his work on font standards, the way browsers show video, proposing CSS and continuing to evolve the design language as CTO of Opera; it’s fair to say that Håkon Wium Lie has done more for the way we view the web than any other person.

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