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Re: IDs vs. Classes

From: Scott E. Preece <preece@predator.urbana.mcd.mot.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Oct 1996 08:36:25 -0500
Message-Id: <199610081336.IAA28781@predator.urbana.mcd.mot.com>
To: howcome@w3.org
CC: www-style@w3.org
 From: Hakon Lie <howcome@w3.org>
|  > Also, the spec explicitly states that a simple selector can have only
|  > 1 class (in section 1.4), but I could find no such limit on the number of
|  > IDs per simple selector.
|  > 
|  > Is that a purposeful omission (and simple selectors can have multiple
|  > IDs) or does the same limit apply to IDs (only 1 per simple selector)?
| The specific limitation for class values is there since the Cougar DTD
| [1] suggests that the CLASS attribute value is a comma-separeated list
| of values. CSS1 does not support this, and that's why we needed a
| specific limitation. We're still debating if having more than one
| class value makes sense. Feedback welcome.

I have two concerns here:

1) I assume the statement "CSS1 does not support this."  means that CSS1
has no syntax for attaching multiple CLASSes to a selector, not that it
fails to work on HTML elements that have multiple classes specified.
I assume the class part of the simple selector matches whenever *any* of
the classes attached to an element matches the class in the selector.
For example, if there is a rule with the simple selector
	.rationale:	{font-style: italic}
that a paragraph tagged
	<P CLASS=abstract,rationale>
would match that selector.

If CSS1 *did* support multiple class components in a simple selector,
there would be two possible interpretations: that the classes were ANDed
or that the classes were ORed.  That is, a selector containing two
classes could match only when *both* were present or whenever *either*
was present.  Even though, as Bert Bos pointed out in a separate note,
you can get the equivalent of ORed classes by just repeating the rest of
the selector, it would still be a notational convenience to support the
shorthand form.  I would suggest supporting
	.class&class...		to indicate ANDed classes and
	.class|class...		to indicate ORed classes
Having gone that far, you might as well support complete logical
expression syntax, allowing

2) My more serious concern is that Cougar has mis-specified the CLASS
attribute.  It says it's a comma-separated list of classes, but both the
standards (i18n and tables) that include CLASS say it's a
space-separated list of classes.  This needs to be fixed in Cougar
before people go off and implement it.

| For ID, noone have suggested it being more that an single value --
| indeed, such a suggestion would defeat the purpose of ID. A
| selector with more than one ID value would never select anything.

Again, there are two possible meanings of having multiple values.  It
would make prefectly good sense to OR together IDs, but, as you note,
not to AND them.


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 Tuesday, 8 October 1996 09:36:41 GMT

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