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

Re: Backwards compatibility of new selectors

From: Liam Quinn <liam@htmlhelp.com>
Date: Wed, 03 Dec 1997 17:57:23 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: www-style@w3.org
Hash: SHA1

At 04:11 PM 03/12/97 -0500, Douglas Rand wrote:
>Liam Quinn wrote:
>> Why are you trying to imply that CSS1's forward compatibility 
>> were hidden or ambiguous?  The standard is very clear on this issue.
>I'm saying quite clearly that regardless of the requirements the
>implementations aren't doing it.  And the corollary is that it
>should be done in a way consistent with actual implementation 
>and usage.  Is that clear?

I don't think that it is practical to develop CSS2 to be consistent with 
actual implementations.  There are just too many problems with actual 
implementations.  In the case of the new selectors, I would like to see 
the adoption of the most natural notation.  Choosing second-best because 
some implementors missed the forward compatibility section is not 
worthwhile.  You mentioned before that you suspected the new selector 
notation would cause "really wrong things" to happen in non-CSS1-compliant 
browsers, but I don't see how the current notation would cause more damage 
than an occasional misapplication of a style rule where it shouldn't have 
been applied--not great, but nothing too tragic.

>> CSS1 didn't work with existing software (IE3) when it became a 
>> Did you tell your rep to vote for it?
>Both you and Neil are totally missing the point.  CSS1,  as proposed,
>did not make existing software act incorrectly.

Yes it did.  It made IE3 act incorrectly.

>It made available
>more information for conforming agents to format the resulting
>output more nicely without invalidating anything.  The current proposal
>for CSS2 selectors is not in the same category,  hence I feel
>differently about it.

The current proposal invalidates nothing on conforming agents.  It might 
show some bugs in non-conforming agents, but with the number of bugs out 
there I don't see how this can be avoided in general.  In this particular 
case, the results of the bugs don't appear (to me) to be terribly severe.  
Given that CSS in general is of little use to certain bug-ridden browsers, 
I don't feel that this one bug should be a concern; CSS2 should use the 
most natural notation for authors.

As a side issue:  Can any implementors tell us why they did not follow the 
forward-compatible parsing rules set out in CSS1?

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Liam Quinn
Web Design Group            Enhanced Designs, Web Site Development
http://www.htmlhelp.com/    http://enhanced-designs.com/
Received on Wednesday, 3 December 1997 17:57:12 UTC

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