W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > December 1995

Re: text transformations in CSS?

From: Scott E. Preece <preece@predator.urbana.mcd.mot.com>
Date: Sat, 9 Dec 1995 21:57:55 -0600
Message-Id: <199512100357.VAA15429@predator.urbana.mcd.mot.com>
To: glenn@stonehand.com
Cc: www-style@w3.org
   From: Glenn Adams <glenn@stonehand.com>

|       Date: Fri, 8 Dec 1995 10:13:00 -0600
|       From: preece@predator.urbana.mcd.mot.com (Scott E. Preece)
|       Has the group thought about including more general textual
|       transformations in CSS?  Something like
|	   P.abstract	{text-edit: "<B>Abstract</B> #value"}
|   This is a fundamentally bad idea, one which has surfaced from time
|   to time and quickly dismissed (at least in the form you have presented).
|   Namely, HTML and style sheets are designed to be dependent of each
|   other; one should be able to parse an HTML document independently of
|   its style sheet and vice versa.  If the style sheet were permitted
|   to generate arbitrary content including markup, then this separation
|   would no longer be possible.

I guess this makes me wonder if the HTML/stylesheet model is pitched at
too limited a level of functionality.  When you say "stylesheet" to me
it covers a lot of things that do involve exactly this kind of
transformation - things like order of elements, presence or absence of
structural headings, ordering and punctuation of elements in
bibliographic citations, etc.

The CSS proposal seems much more at the level that word processing
programs tend to use the word "stylesheet" - just typographic style
control.  This has always seemed to me to be a key shortcoming of those
word processing programs, and one of the reasons I thought SGML, which
supports real structural markup, was a far better way for the future.

I had hoped that HTML with stylesheets might make up for some of the
least-common-denominator nature of HTML (that class information could
make up for the fixed and minimal DTD).  I guess I'm disappointed that
the combined HTML+stylesheet doesn't aim higher, for all that it's a
useful advance over HTML alone.  It seems to me that pre-formatted
document tools (like Acrobat distillers) on the one side and SGML tools
on the other side are likely to put a lot of pressure on HTML's growth

I think I would be inclined to move my own authoring towards SGML,
rather than HTML, assuming I can find good tools.


scott preece
motorola/mcg urbana design center	1101 e. university, urbana, il   61801
phone:	217-384-8589			  fax:	217-384-8550
internet mail:	preece@urbana.mcd.mot.com
Received on Saturday, 9 December 1995 22:57:06 UTC

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