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General Comment re Guidelines/Discussion

From: Charles F. Munat <charles@munat.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999 19:39:04 -0700
Message-ID: <000501bed484$b41b1d40$1f611c26@ujj9y>
To: "WAI Interest Group" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Forgive me for entering this discussion so late, but I have been away from
this list since mid-April.

I read through the archive and was surprised by some of the discussions. For
what it's worth, here're my two cents:

As for Priority 3.3, I read it to say that you should use a stylesheet for
layout vs. elements such as B, I, FONT, etc. As far as I'm concerned, as
long as you avoid those elements, you've met this priority. If you want to
make text red, use a stylesheet or the style attribute rather than the font
tag. If you can live without the B, I, etc. tags, and you don't feel that
you need a stylesheet, I don't see that Priority 3.3 requires one. What, a
blank one, just for looks?

Frankly, I don't understand what all the fuss is about. Perhaps it could be
better phrased, but why on earth would anyone want to require a stylesheet
if a document doesn't need one?

As for Priority 5.3, it is clear to me that tables may be used for layout in
the interim (until stylesheets are better implemented) provided they still
make sense when linearized. I read several times that you can't have a
triple-A site if you use tables for formatting the page. I don't see it.
Where does it say that in the Guidelines?

Also, several comments seemed to imply that this was an either/or
proposition (either tables or a stylesheet). Why? Stylesheets are very
useful for controlling font size, color, style, weight, text-decoration,
line length, etc. Tables are currently a necessary evil on most sites
because stylesheet positioning is not well implemented yet. I use
stylesheets for everything but positioning (and even for some types of
positioning, like indentation) and a big, simple table for layout. It
linearizes just fine. It's not ideal, but as far as I'm concerned, it meets
the Guidelines. And it degrades gracefully when the stylesheet is not

Finally, Priority 11.1 clearly covers the above situations. It says to use
W3C technologies when they are "available and appropriate for a task." So if
I'm designing an intranet site for Netscape 3 only, I'm certainly not going
to waste my time with a stylesheet. Similarly, if I'm designing for the web,
but stylesheet positioning is not implemented well enough to use, then it is
neither "available" nor "appropriate for the task" yet. When it becomes so,
I will upgrade my sites accordingly.

I find it interesting that so much commentary has been devoted to the above
(non?) issues while several (to me) more perplexing problems have gone
unmentioned. I will bring those up in separate messages to permit individual

Charles Munat
Munat, Inc.
Seattle, Washington

(formerly of Code Red Internet Solutions, Puerto Vallarta)
Received on Thursday, 22 July 1999 16:57:12 UTC

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