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

Re: WCAG 1.0 CP 6.1 Considered Harmful

From: Sean B. Palmer <sean@mysterylights.com>
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2001 00:06:58 +0100
Message-ID: <036001c14617$2d5ac4c0$0bd993c3@y0r1d9>
To: "Alan J. Flavell" <flavell@a5.ph.gla.ac.uk>
Cc: "WAI Guidelines List" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
> (And, by the way, stylesheets for HTML don't _have_ to
> be in CSS.)

Of course! Built in stylesheets rarely. But external ones tend to be CSS;
XSLT isn't often supported...

> 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.

Don't be. HTML is now very established, and I certainly don't advocate that
statement now... but I would have done if the Web were just starting up. At
any rate, that is the situation for XML (some browsers show the parse tree,
some just render the text as if it were all inline, some just render
nothing), so that's good. People have obviously gotten so used to the built
in styles... but it didn't have to be that way. And it doesn't have to be
that way for XML; it won't be that way for XML.

> [...] 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,

Yes, but I don't see how that is relavent to our discussion.

> 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?

Blimey, I know that my writing style is at best awful, but I'm suprised
that anyone could jump to that conclusion :-) I'm saying that XML language
authors should come up with a default stylesheet hint, UAs may or may not
implement this, but certainly shouldn't be expected to, and that authors
can apply any style that they want to their instances. The "author
proposes, user disposes" axiom still stands.

> Dreadful thought.

I agree.

> 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.

Well, I'm saying a few things, one of which is that default presentations
*expected* in all UAs is not good Web architecture. XML and CSS were
designed to try to solve these problems, and now we can use them. But the
danger is that the problems associated with HTML will carry on over to XML,
and that people will expect things like default stylesheets in the UA for
XHTML 2.0. The benefit of XML and CSS is that you don't need default
stylesheets built into the UA. You just use an XML and CSS compliant
browser, and get the author to piece it together.

Kindest Regards,
Sean B. Palmer
@prefix : <http://webns.net/roughterms/> .
:Sean :hasHomepage <http://purl.org/net/sbp/> .
Received on Tuesday, 25 September 2001 19:09:18 UTC

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