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Re: Cascading and scripting (was: The concept of cascading)

From: Paul Prescod <papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997 19:14:40 -0400
Message-ID: <33652F60.52CF8C65@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
To: www-style@w3.org
Chris Lilley wrote:
> Paul, many of your technical arguments have been cogent and sound. You
> are less impressive when you descend into rhetoric, and slurs on the
> character or competency of those working in the field. Since you have
> a clear technical grasp and an able intelligence, I suggest you have no
> need to do this and should resist the temptation.
> 
> In my experience, the people working on the Document Object model are
> neither un-educated nor amateurs.

I didn't claim that they were. (actually, I'd love to know who is
working on the Document Object Model, but that information is OFF LIMITS
on the W3C site) I claimed that the people who will *use* the Document
Object Model will be amateurs:

> I would rather avoid
> the bifurcation of effort and education, but I suppose that is what will
> separate the professional publishers from the amateurs.

They will, after all, have been told through countless media that this
is the "next generation" of HTML and CSS and will naturally embrace it
just as they have JavaScript. Long after some more reasonable mechanism
to express a particular idiom has standardized, they will still be using
JavaScript or VBScript to do it.

Even so, that may be a little inaccurate. Not everyone who uses
Javascript or 1 pixel gifs does so out of a lack of knowledge or
intelligence. Sometimes smart people choose to restrict their audiences
and trap their documents in brain-dead formats with heinous 1997isms in
them. One can't really accuse David Siegel of not knowing what he's
doing. I'm sure he's gotten enough hate-mail from Lynx users to know
exactly what's going on.

On the other hand, David Siegel (et al.) wants to achieve a particular
affect, usually a reasonable effect, and the standards aren't in place
for him to do so. That's why I said that DOM is probably a good idea to
allow him to "express himself artistically" while he (or whoever) waits
for proper standards to be put in place. But after those proper
standards are in place, it *is* the amateurs who will keep using the
hacky Java-Script or VB-Script equivalents of generic markup constructs
and transformations, just as it *is* the amateurs who will keep using
<FONT> when CSS is deployed.

Still, I'm not really convinced that we need these "in-between"
standards like <FONT ...> and DOM to allow people to do interesting
things in wildly non-standard, non-portable, non-generic markup ways.
Why not just spend our energy on making standard flow objects and tags
for the dynamic idioms that people want to express? The answer comes
from Todd Fahrner: "The trouble with standardized formats, of course, is
that they provide fewer opportunities for commercial exploitation over
the short term than proprietary ones." DOMs are already deployed. The
fix is in. W3C is a vendor consortium and the vendors have no real
interest in the accessibility or longevity of people's data. Your hands
are tied. I can appreciate that. Thanks God there is still an ISO as a
place for some sober second thought.

BTW, when will we get access to the DOM WG mailing list archives? The
webpage is admirable, but I find it disconcerting that before end-users
even know what is happening there will already be a standard: "Level
zero will contain functionality equivalent to that currently exposed in
Netscape Navigator 3.0 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0." It seems to
me that there is something fundamentally wrong when neither authors nor
Web end-users can contribute to these processes or even know what is
going on. AFAIK, the XML discussions are all on the public record. Will
the same be the case for the DOM?

 Paul Prescod
Received on Monday, 28 April 1997 19:08:36 GMT

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