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Re: "fighting it out between WGs" (was: inline CSS)

From: Braden N. McDaniel <braden@endoframe.com>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 13:54:34 -0500 (EST)
To: Jonny Axelsson <jonny@metastasis.net>
cc: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.10.10002241337001.9453-100000@boneone.endoframe.com>
On Thu, 24 Feb 2000, Jonny Axelsson wrote:

> At 12:56 23.02.00 -0500, Braden N. McDaniel wrote:
> 
> >> COST OF CHANGE
> >> 1. ID selectors are unreliable today. Removing style is only an option when
> >> today's bunch of browsers are gone.
> >
> >ID selectors are more widely available than XHTML browsers are, so I don't
> >see the relevance of this.
> 
> Not really. Today's browsers handle XHTML 1.0 without a glitch (to the
> extent they handle HTML 4.0). So far I think they can handle XHTML 1.1 too.

So what you're talking about here is composing XHTML that can be viewed by
legacy browsers. It'd be my guess that this application is exactly why the
STYLE attribute appears in the legacy module.

> >> 2. They would have to learn a new way of doing it. It shouldn't be too
> >> hard, since they know .class {style}, #id {style} isn't too different. But
> >> it is a switch from "Do *not* use #id (unreliable)" to "*Do* use #id".
> 
> >I don't buy this one. Web authors edge into using techniques that had
> >previously been unreliable quite frequently. The very idea of using CSS
> >at all is an example of this.
> 
> When something "finally" works, people tend to stick to it. Admittedly all
> I am saying is that designers can be <del>pig-headed</del>conservative too.
> It should be considered, as a resistance to change (change must have a
> noticable advantage), but not an argument against superior proposals as such.

I think a notable advantage can be the quashing of notable disadvantages.

> >> CONCEPTUAL MODEL
> >> 4. Essentially the inline style divides styles into two categories, rules
> >> in the head or preferably in a separate style sheet, exceptions inline.
> 
> >This is not a robust model, since it insists that all exceptions be
> >persistent. Many, if not most, exceptions should be context-sensitive in
> >how they behave.
> 
> >STYLE affords no means of naming the styles it introduces, thus all such
> >styles are always "persistent". This is weak, as even "rules of one" as
> >you describe often need to be dependent on aspects of the context in which
> >they occur. So few persistent styles are immune to this that I am not sure
> >they shouldn't be done away with altogether.
> 
> I am a bit unsure what you mean here, but yes, styles using the style
> attribute (or #id selector) have no name or identity or semantic value (at
> least normally).

Perhaps my point would be more clear if you refamiliarized yourself with
14.3 of the HTML 4 spec, particularly 14.3.1.

I am pointing to a problem inherent in the notion of a persistent style:
the probability that a style is truly context independent is rather low.
I am asserting that persistent style sheets are, in general, a bad idea.
The fact that STYLE attributes are only useful for creating persistent
styles is just one more reason they should be drop-kicked.

-- 
Braden N. McDaniel
braden@endoframe.com
<URL:http://www.endoframe.com>
Received on Thursday, 24 February 2000 13:52:39 GMT

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