W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > July to September 2001

Re: WCAG 1.0 CP 6.1 Considered Harmful

From: Alan J. Flavell <flavell@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2001 22:10:46 +0100 (BST)
To: "Sean B. Palmer" <sean@mysterylights.com>
cc: WAI Guidelines List <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.4.30.0109252147470.21903-100000@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>
On Tue, 25 Sep 2001, Sean B. Palmer wrote:

> > > perpetuating a myth that all browsers must render HTML
> > > with a default stylesheet,

> I didn't phrase myself at all well. All browsers
> really do have to have a built in stylesheet of some sort, because that's
> what people expect with HTML browsers,

Thanks for the clarification.

I interpret a "default stylesheet" as nothing more than a slightly
loaded way of describing the browser's default rendering.  For a
CSS-supporting browser, that could indeed be a tangible CSS
stylesheet, while for a non-CSS-supporting browser it was merely an
abstract concept inherent in the browser's presentation design (in
most cases adjustable by some browser-specific preferences dialog).

(And, by the way, stylesheets for HTML don't _have_ to be in CSS.)

> but they should make that stylesheet accessible.

Certainly a desirable property, except in the most rudimentary browser
implementations.

> What I meant was that the very path of evolution of HTML is
> flawed, inherently flawed in that to make the Web work, browsers had to
> have default styles for rendering.

Are you really advocating that a browser which has not been given an
external stylesheet should refuse to present the HTML content in any
way at all?  I'm confused.

> Perhaps it didn't have to be that way,
> and certainly it's a shame that the alternative (stylesheets) were not
> recognized until some time later,

I have this awful feeling that we're talking entirely at cross
purposes.  The whole point of decoupling the stylesheet mechanism from
the logical markup (as presaged by the HTML2.0 specification) was to
enable different stylesheets to be applied for different presentation
situations and needs.  After all these years, that is finally coming
to fruition,

> but that's all in the past. WCAG is in
> the present, and it perpetuates the "default style" myths, IMO.

Sorry, I'm trying hard to understand you, but I'm still baffled as to
what this "myth" might be.

Are you by some mischance basing this on the assumption that there
would be one single ideal "default" presentation - irrespective of
browser or browsing situation?  Dreadful thought.

> At this point, I'm probably going to take Al's suggestion that we not beat
> this issue too hard (won't stop me from addressing it a bit), because it
> infringes on many UAAG domain areas etc., and we need to have more people
> dicussing it.

I'd be glad to discuss "it" if I only knew what "it" was. I'm afraid
it's only too obvious that there's something here that I'm still not
grasping.  Sorry.

all the best
Received on Tuesday, 25 September 2001 17:10:48 GMT

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