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Re: Liaison with CSS WG to provide a mechanism for expressing the style of document semantics

From: Robert J Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2008 18:05:25 +0300
Cc: HTML Issue Tracking WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-Id: <BF9BEC28-A6BB-4EC0-8630-89CC16AD0AAD@robburns.com>
To: Daniel Glazman <daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>, Pierre Saslawsky <ps@outspring.com>

Hi Daniel,

On Jul 31, 2008, at 12:47 PM, Daniel Glazman wrote:

>
> Philip TAYLOR (Ret'd) wrote:
>
>> Sometimes what appears hilarious (or depressing)
>> to one individual can appear (prima facie) perfectly
>> reasonable to others.
>
> Last time I heard that argument, the topic was XHTML 2.0.
> "Reasonable to some" and "globally counter-productive" are
> not exclusive notions.
>
>> Would it be possible for you
>> to explain exactly what it is about the document's
>> content that drives you to such extremes ?
>
> Justin phrased it perfectly in a previous message :
>
>> Looking at this, I am curious as to why in the world, after 10  
>> years of
>> begging people to separate their styling from their semantics, we  
>> would then
>> turn around and make a mechanism that allows people to embed  
>> content and
>> semantics (in this case, putting a string with a legend text is  
>> certainly a
>> form of content) into the style sheet. This really looks like a  
>> massive step
>> backwards. In this case, people should be using a tag in HTML with  
>> a *role*
>> of "legend" (and another attribute indicating the ID of the tag  
>> that it is
>> the legend of), with a stylesheet to style the legend itself. The  
>> legend
>> text does not belong in a *style* definition.
>
> If you except the fact it's not 10 years but 20, I couldn't agree  
> more.

I think you fundamentally misunderstand the proposal. Justin too said  
these words before he understood the proposal. The proposal is  
actually meant to strengthen the separation of concerns involving  
semantics and styling so the criticism does not apply at all. With  
this proposal an author need not concern themselves with the styling  
of a document, but may instead focus on the meaning the author wants  
to convey. A separate party (for example a publisher) would then apply  
distinguishing styles to the document to help distinguish the authors  
meaning.

The inspiration for the proposal came from a desire to address the  
needs of disabled users who often use media that is overlooked by  
styling authors to the extent at that meaningful authoring  
distinctions that require distinct presentation idioms fail to receive  
them for the disabled userís media type. You're dismissal of yet  
another proposal targeting of the needs of disabled users certainly  
reflects a growing pattern in the W3C, but it's not something to be so  
proud of.

Pierre's comments also do not appear related to the proposal (or at  
least I cannot discern how they relate to the proposal). The proposal  
does include suggestions to allow content generation of the legend and  
also styling properties for that generated content (though admittedly  
that is not worked out to the extent of a recommended syntax).

On the issue of a religious or political example, I find the idea that  
this could be offensive bizarre. I would go even further to say that I  
am offended by the suggestion that it is offensive. If the example  
included language about how "Jesus is the only road to salvation" or  
"Aries" or "Buddha" then I could see how that is offensive. If the  
example said "Jesus Christ was an asshole and a chump", then I could  
see how that is offensive. But claiming it is offensive to include a  
liturgical example for how HTML and CSS might be used together to  
convey some meaning, is simply ridiculous.

Take care,
Rob
Received on Thursday, 31 July 2008 15:06:12 UTC

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