W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > April 1997

Re: The concept of cascading

From: Paul Prescod <papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997 21:47:25 -0400
Message-ID: <3367F62D.9B0D890A@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
To: www-style@w3.org
David Perrell wrote:
> Be they cascading or parameterized, stylesheets can be kept under
> central control. But can a stylesheet be an enforcement mechanism? I
> thought external stylesheets were about convenience and efficiency.
> Without the cooperation of authors, no stylesheet will "enforce"
> stylistic consistency. But with cooperation, they will "facilitate" it.

We're getting bogged down in issues of command and control. DSSSL
parameterization can enforce certain structures of stylistic
presentation and allow others to vary just as a DTD can enforce certain
structural properties of documents and allow others to vary. Anyone who
wants to circumvent either can probably find a way at the file or
operating system level. But most people LIKE it when computer programs
help them to stick to the rules rather than giving them free rein to
break it. I don't think that people who ask for these kinds of computer
help are "lacking in common sense" (as someone else said). They simply
know that there are some things computers are good at and one of them is
checking conformance to standards.

You could also write a program to check CSS cascades for conformance to
standards, but CSS does not itself help you in this regard. It is
analogous to being forced to write a validator for particular structures
in RTF, rather than using SGML a parser and a DTD. Obviously the latter
is easier. If you want ad hoc cascades, CSS is probably easier to use
than DSSSL, just as if you want ad hoc document structures RTF is easier
to use than SGML.

 Paul Prescod
Received on Wednesday, 30 April 1997 21:41:23 UTC

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