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Re: CSS and SGML document formatting -Reply

From: Bert Bos <Bert.Bos@sophia.inria.fr>
Date: Fri, 26 Apr 1996 00:24:48 +0200
Message-Id: <199604252224.AAA28115@mygale.inria.fr>
To: www-style@w3.org
There isn't much that I can add to the discussion that hasn't already
been said, but I would like to contest a point that Gavin has made
twice now.

Gavin Nicol writes:
 > I have no problem with CSS being targetted to HTML/low quality
 > publishing. It's fine for that, 
 [...]

and in a different message:
 [...]
 >  but let's *not* pretend it will satisfy anything
 > beyond the simplest typographical needs.

(Though I should note that I agree with the rest of those paragraphs,
that I replaced by `[...]'.)

Compared to DSSSL, CSS falls short in text manipulation capabilities,
but not in typographical quality. It is true that it allows for
low-quality formatters; in fact, that is an explicitly goal (think of
a computer screen, a palm top computer, or the score board in a
football stadium). But it can also be used with high-quality
formatters, and I think it will be, when it's used for hard-copy.

CSS doesn't give *control* over the traditional high-quality features
(kerning on/off, hyphen distribution, white space distribution, white
`rivers', etc.) but that doesn't mean the formatter isn't allowed to
apply its intelligence in those areas.

In fact, giving the control is very easy; implementing it is the
problem. Properties for these things can be introduced without having
to change anything else. But we won't introduce them, until we are
sure that adding them to CSS is better than pointing people to DSSSL.



Gavin Nicol writes:
 > I should note that some people have told me that CSS is not relying
 > upon the hundreds of years of experience in typography we already
 > have, and is instead catering to the "new world". I cannot judge if
 > that is a valid stance or not. Perhaps the WWW is a new world. For
 > myself, I tend to feel it as just another exploration in human
 > communication/social interaction. 

Then those people were wrong, or you misunderstood. Of course CSS is
catering to the `new world', but not exclusively. I think the `new
world' is the world of film, radio, tv, video games, and now
interactive media and even multi-user interactive media. Clearly there
are new capabilities here that Gutenberg never dreamt of and new
solutions to put on the balance (blinking text...), but that doesn't
mean Gutenberg was *wrong*.


Bert
-- 
  Bert Bos                                ( W 3 C ) http://www.w3.org/
  http://www.w3.org/pub/WWW/People/Bos/                      INRIA/W3C
  bert@w3.org                             2004 Rt des Lucioles / BP 93
  +33 93 65 77 71                 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France
Received on Thursday, 25 April 1996 18:24:58 GMT

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