1. WCSS (WAP CSS) Introduction

1.1. What is WCSS (WAP CSS)?

WCSS (WAP Cascading Style Sheet or WAP CSS) is the mobile version of cascading style sheet. It is a subset of CSS2 (the cascading style sheet language of the World Wide Web) plus some WAP specific extensions. CSS2 features and properties that are not useful for mobile Internet applications are not included in WAP CSS. WAP CSS is the companion of XHTML Mobile Profile (XHTML MP). Both of them are defined in the WAP 2.0 specification, which was created by the former WAP Forum (now the Open Mobile Alliance [OMA]). There are lots of WAP2.0-enabled cell phones on the market currently.

The idea of CSS is simple -- the style and layout information of a document is defined with CSS style rules and they are placed separately from the document's content (for example, the style rules are stored in an external file). To change the look and feel of a document in a browser, you just need to modify the CSS style sheet. This feature is very useful in the wireless world in which different mobile devices such as cell phones have varied characteristics like screen size. You can control the layout of your documents on different mobile devices by making use of separate WCSS cascading style sheets and there is no need to modify the content file.

In WAP2.0 mobile Internet applications, XHTML MP is used to specify the content, and WCSS is used to describe how to present the content in WAP browsers. You may want to read our XHTML MP tutorial if you want to learn XHTML MP.

Before the coming out of WAP 2.0, developers used WML (the markup language defined in the previous version of the WAP specification, that is WAP 1.2.1) to build WAP sites, and HTML/XHTML/CSS to build web sites. Now with WAP 2.0, you can make use of the same technologies to create both web sites and WAP sites. Documents written in XHTML MP/WCSS are viewable on ordinary PC web browsers, since XHTML MP and WAP CSS are just the subset of XHTML and CSS.

Note that WML does not support cascading style sheets.

1.2. MIME Type and File Extension of WCSS Files

The MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) type of WCSS is text/css and the file extension is ".css". These are the same as that of web CSS.

2. Wireless CSS and Wireless Profile CSS

You may have come across the terms "Wireless CSS" or "Wireless Profile CSS" when reading articles about mobile Internet applications development. Actually WCSS, WAP CSS, Wireless CSS and Wireless Profile CSS are just different names of the same thing and they can be used interchangeably (WCSS, WAP CSS and Wireless CSS are more frequently used).

Note that the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) has also specified a cascading style sheet language for mobile devices called CSS Mobile Profile. W3C CSS Mobile Profile and WAP CSS are two different specifications and they are not the same.

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