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starting over (was: Forget what I said about whitespace)

From: Todd Fahrner <fahrner@pobox.com>
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 14:35:34 -0800
Message-Id: <v03102802b0bb5cb16273@[206.245.203.103]>
To: neil@bigpic.com, www-style@w3.org
Also sprach Neil St.Laurent at 4:06 PM -0600 12/11/97):

" But alas, neither explorer nor netscape recognize this... meaning 
" that for compatiblity with existing browsers we cannot strip any 
" space at all from the files -- we'll still recognize the above, but 
" will have to put space back in afterwards.

I may be running roughshod over your fine point, but it seems to me that existing CSS implementations are best ignored to the vast and dangerous extent that they depart from the CSS1 spec. Backwards compatibility would matter more if there had ever been a non-trivial degree of sideways compatibility. Web authors must, by and large, wait for first-generation implementations to fall out of use before CSS becomes viable on the open Web. Or haven't you noticed that authors are keeping a safe distance?

In fact, in my opinion it would spare authors a great deal of trouble if CSS2 were linked to HTML in a deliberately *non-backwards-compatible* fashion, to assure that first-generation implementations would choke on even the CSS1 contained in CSS2 sheets. There's a strong case to be made for starting over. If CSS doesn't, XSL will be that much more compelling, even for HTML.


Todd Fahrner
mailto:fahrner@pobox.com
http://www.verso.com/agitprop/

The printed page transcends space and time. The printed page, the infinitude of books, must be transcended. THE ELECTRO-LIBRARY.
	- El Lissitzky, 1923
Received on Monday, 15 December 1997 17:30:35 GMT

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