On the Analysis of Cascading Style Sheets

Pierre Genevès 1 Nabil Layaïda 1 Quint Vincent 1
1 WAM - Web, adaptation and multimedia
Inria Grenoble - Rhône-Alpes, LIG - Laboratoire d'Informatique de Grenoble
Abstract : Developing and maintaining cascading style sheets (CSS) is an important issue to web developers as they suffer from the lack of rigorous methods. Most existing means rely on validators that check syntactic rules, and on runtime debuggers that check the behavior of a CSS style sheet on a particular document instance. However, the aim of most style sheets is to be applied to an entire set of documents, usually defined by some schema. To this end, a CSS style sheet is usually written w.r.t. a given schema. While usual debugging tools help reducing the number of bugs, they do not ultimately allow to prove properties over the whole set of documents to which the style sheet is intended to be applied. We propose a novel approach to fill this lack. We introduce ideas borrowed from the fields of logic and compile-time verification for the analysis of CSS style sheets. We present an original tool based on recent advances in tree logics. The tool is capable of statically detecting a wide range of errors (such as empty CSS selectors and semantically equivalent selectors), as well as proving properties related to sets of documents (such as coverage of styling information), in the presence or absence of schema information. This new tool can be used in addition to existing runtime debuggers to ensure a higher level of quality of CSS style sheets.
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Submitted on : Monday, November 21, 2011 - 10:06:33 AM
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Pierre Genevès, Nabil Layaïda, Quint Vincent. On the Analysis of Cascading Style Sheets. [Research Report] RR-7808, INRIA. 2011. ⟨hal-00643075⟩

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