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From: Murray Altheim <altheim@eng.sun.com>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 13:20:51 -0800
Message-ID: <383C56B3.B681DC12@eng.sun.com>
To: Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@operasoftware.com>
CC: www-html@w3.org
Håkon Wium Lie wrote:
> Also sprach Murray Altheim:
>  > "HTML" documents in theory should be viewable on any browser that
>  > implements the specification, but unfortunately HTML 4.0's spec allows
>  > for such wide variance and requires support for CSS (itself an impossibility)
>  > that I hardly blame MS and NS for not having compliant browsers.
> Impossibility? Both Opera and Netscape (through Mozilla) have now
> implemented CSS1 fully. It wasn't that hard, actually...

Well, apparently your version of Netscape is better than mine. I use the
most recent versions (4.7) on Solaris and Linux, and there are plenty of
holes. The selector syntax works for several varieties of selector, but
is broken on many. Try changing the color of a <dfn> or an <abbr>, or 
doing any relatively simple embedded, class'd or id'd stuff. How about 
even changing the text content of <li> to green? (It makes the bullet 
green, not the element content.)

In addition to the selector problems, not all of the properties nor the 
units seem to work correctly, nor do the fonts display properly. For
example, if you set NS4.7's preference to allow font scaling (the default),
many documents (including many W3C documents) lose all whitespace between
words in the headings, especially when italicized.

I read in the "Status of this document" section in CSS1 Recommendation:
>  Thisdocumentisarevisedversionofthedocumentfirstreleasedon17December1996.
>  ChangesfromtheoriginalversionarelistedinAppendixF.Thelistofknownerrorsin
>  thisspecificationisavailableat [...]

I don't use Opera nor do I spend much time with IE, so I can't speak for
their compliance, nor for how things work on a Macintosh. But I hardly 
consider CSS1 fully implemented if a very large percentage of web users 
can't rely on it for relatively simple tasks. That's not a fault of CSS,
but I don't consider statements such as yours definitive (disregarding
for the moment my above empirical evidence) until a conformance suite
has been created and CSS tested against it. It's certainly improved over
the past few years, but we certainly aren't ready for CSS2 and CSS3.

>  > The ability to create many varieties of interoperable markup languages
>  > based on a common framework (XML and its family of specs, XLink, XSL,
>  > etc.) relies on people abandoning proprietary markup (and in this I
>  > include a wide array of non-XML Web "features" such as CSS, JavaScript,
>  > the current HTML linking syntax, etc.) and begin using truly
>  > interoperable markup. A new baseline for interoperability, a new era
>  > based on XML, XLink and XSL.
> As you know, CSS works well with XML documents and it's not
> proprietary -- it's described in two W3C Recommendations. Your
> "new-era"-speak reminds me of the vocabulary used to describe SGML a
> decade ago. Truly interoperable? I think I prefer the Web, warts and
> all.

The fact that it "works" (using your earlier idea of CSS1 being "fully
implemented") in IE doesn't mean that in an arbitrary XML document (ie.,
not HTML or XHTML) you can rely on it to work correctly (interpreting 
the XML DOM correctly) in other applications. Microsoft may have an XML 
support for CSS (like simply allowing any element type rather than
HTML's) that suits your needs, but that hardly means that CSS is not
proprietary to HTML. As the principle editor of the CSS1 Recommendation
I would expect you to defend CSS (as do Bert and Chris), but you must
admit that CSS was designed for use with HTML, given that there was 
no XML at the time. Trying to stretch it into different shoes might
be desired to keep it alive in XML but that doesn't mean that is an
appropriate venture.

As for my 'new-era'-speak, it happens to be the vision of the web
shared by many of the XML community working within the W3C on the
various XML activities, including the XML Core WG, XML Fragment WG,
XML Information Set WG, XML Syntax WG, XML Query WG, XML Schema WG,
XML Linking WG, and XSL WG. The impressive array of industry experts
represented on these WGs are not putting in all this effort to 
improve HTML and CSS, they're working toward an interoperable web 
based upon a new foundation in XML. Like it or not.

But as I replied to Ethan, none of this means that HTML or CSS are
unsuitable for creating web documents. I expect both to be around
for many years, and I hope support for the complete gamut of both
specifications to continue to improve over time.


Murray Altheim, SGML Grease Monkey         <mailto:altheim&#64;eng.sun.com>
Member of Technical Staff, Tools Development & Support
Sun Microsystems, 901 San Antonio Rd., UMPK17-102, Palo Alto, CA 94303-4900

   the honey bee is sad and cross and wicked as a weasel
   and when she perches on you boss she leaves a little measle -- archy
Received on Wednesday, 24 November 1999 16:20:03 UTC

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