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Re: ACTION-994: Some evidence of CSS MQ in the wild

From: Phil Archer <phil@philarcher.org>
Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 15:21:04 +0100
Message-ID: <4A5B42D0.4050008@philarcher.org>
To: Eduardo Casais <casays@yahoo.com>
CC: public-bpwg@w3.org
I'll answer this as 'me' rather than as a member of the MWI team to 
avoid any shouts of "W3C says..." ('cos W3C ain't saying anything here)

Eduardo Casais wrote:

[...]

> 
> Given 
> 1. the fact that terminal classification depends on the application;
> 2. that this classification tends to become more complex (not just for technical 
> reasons due to CSS MQ/MT implementations);
> 3. that this classification is based on terminal characteristics that are, for those
> actually used, a subset of what can be found in such device capability schemes as
> UAProf, WURFL, Volantis, etc;
> then why bother implementing a device switcher on the client? If one is using CSS
> MQ, then one is highly likely to perform server-side device detection, followed by
> content generation or selection based on device properties (whether it is selection
> of proper markup, image and multimedia types, generation of presentation elements
> such as banners or of executable resources such as Javascript vs. JScript, etc).

This is a dangerous assumption and one that ignores the many people for 
whom server configuration is not an option. If your website is run on a 
shared server and managed by one of any number of hosting companies, 
you're unlikely to have anything like enough access to configure the 
server properly (they might or might not let you add a .htaccess file 
for instance).

A great many companies have a small scale website created by small scale 
web design companies who barely know one end of an angle bracket from 
another. To recommend practices that require substantial tinkering on 
the server is not going to help them. Whereas, the methods for cascading 
stylesheets with MT and MQ (the Bushido method being the preeminent one) 
is something anyone with even minimal write access to a server (probably 
via ftp) can do.

Please don't cut off the long tail just when they have a method that 
actually seems to work.

[...]

> 
> To make a long story short, I would conclude by stating that CSS MQ appears to have
> too many deficiencies and to be redundant with other techniques. Its utilization for
> such simple goals as style sheet selection leads to complicated and brittle designs. 
>>From the examples in the wild I have seen, the 
> current typical utilization of CSS MQ, and the
> topic of MWABP 3.6.2, I can honestly not recommend it as a best practice -- although
> it is a tool that may be convenient at times.

Like when you're one of the many, not the few.

Phil.


-- 

Phil Archer
http://philarcher.org/

i-sieve technologies                   |      W3C Mobile Web Initiative
Sentiment Analysis Beyond Impressions  |      www.w3.org/Mobile
Received on Monday, 13 July 2009 14:21:50 UTC

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