W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > February 2000

Re: is anyone interested in XHTML?

From: Tantek Çelik <tantek@cs.stanford.edu>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 07:36:13 -0800
Message-Id: <200002171537.KAA31111@tux.w3.org>
To: Maury Markowitz <maury@sympatico.ca>, www-html@w3.org
>From: "Maury Markowitz" <maury@sympatico.ca>
>Subject: Re: is anyone interested in XHTML?


>   The world essentially falls into two groups, those trying to "cross
> publish" (tech pubs and such) and those trying to get the most out of the
> medium (designers).  For the former XHTML/CSS (et all) are a great idea
> because it allows them to move their single source to multiple endpoints.
> These people aren't looking for precise control either, even if the medium
> in question allows it.  As long as the information gets out there, correct,
> then that's a good first pass.
>   However the web is currently built by the later group. For these people
> the extra weight of the style system is nothing but added complexity.

It is actually supposed to *reduce* complexity.

Even if all you did was replace every <FONT> tag in your documents by a
handful of *inline* style sheet rules/properties in a STYLE element in the
HEAD, documents would shrink by up to / around 30% and become a lot more
maintainable.  I couldn't find the source for this stat, but I know I've seen
it several times.  It is probably in one of the articles referenced by


However, that is a minor point - your next point is much more significant (and
of more relevance presently):

>  The
> necessity to do one task in two places actually makes the job much harder,
> and the advantages of reuse are not really important to them.

I strongly agree.

I believe that any new "mechanisms" that are developed in HTML or CSS to
"attach" functionality of one sort or another, *must* allow for an inline way
of doing so, in addition to placing the functionality in a separate file or
even separate element in the same file.

Real world authors whose job it is to get this work done day to day understand
this much better than those who dream up (or even implement) grand
architectures. NB: I am an implementor.

Unfortunately, there appears to be a trend developing in various recent
proposals which sacrifice this kind of inline simplicity in deference to some
altar of purity.

Note that I think it is a good idea moving forward to enable and encourage
separation of varying mechanisms (such as markup and styling as done via
HTML's LINK attribute and external CSS style sheets).

But I think it is just as critical *in addition* to continue to allow inline
mechanisms (such as the <STYLE> element and the STYLE= attribute) for many
reasons, including certainly for ease of development/authoring.

The point has been made that sometimes moving things externally (to two or
more places) makes development / authoring easier.

I am not arguing for one vs. the other.  That is not the point.

I am arguing for *both*.  Authors should have the *choice* of using a
externally referenced mechanism or an inline mechanism.

If you think it is important to keep allowing things to be *simple* in this
way, and to keep allowing this *choice* (e.g. as HTML4 and CSS-1 provided with
<LINK>, <STYLE> and STYLE=), speak up.

Received on Thursday, 17 February 2000 10:37:45 UTC

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