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

Re: CSS2 Progress

From: Eric A. Meyer <eam3@po.cwru.edu>
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 1997 10:40:43 -0500
Message-Id: <v03102806b09f5074c2d4@[129.22.138.152]>
To: www-style@w3.org
>I do get sick of getting a new browser and it having the 'latest'
>functionality when pieces of that 'latest' bit aren't standard yet -
>HTML 4.0 being the classic example.

   I agree with you here, but I see it a different way.  I get sick of
vendors releasing browsers which support "the latest standard" when they're
perfectly well aware that the standard hasn't been set.  Any vendor which
implements a draft, or even a proposal, and then finds the final standard
different from what was implemented, has no-one to blame but themselves for
jumping the gun.
   Yes, this does blissfully ignore some of the realities of a competitive
market.  Hey, I can do that, I'm in academia.  It's in my contract
somewhere.

>For those people who download such
>large files, having to upgrade the browser a second time because the
>'standard' has changed is highly annoying, not least because the
>'standard' wasn't such a thing in the first place.

   Maybe it's just me, but this doesn't seem to be a problem.  The browser
authors incorporate revisions to CSS (and everything else) into their major
version upgrades, which are planned in advance and happen once or twice a
year.  They DON'T create new versions just to revise support of CSS, or
even HTML, by itself.  In other words, I don't think either browser vendor
is going to release an upgrade to their browser just because some of CSS2
changed.  Have no doubt that they're as sensitive to the issue of
downloads, and the user's perceptions thereof, as you are-- probably more
so.

>If you decide to cut bits out, it'll only slow down progress.

   Maybe yes, maybe no.  What will cause a greater slowdown-- delaying the
introduction of certain features into an evolving standard, or delaying
browser deployment by forcing browser authors to take more time to write
the code which will support the features which are included?  Not being a
code-jockey myself, I can't really answer that, but I bet others on this
list can, and will.

>Give MS and NS a reason to incorporate
>headers, footers and multi-column text - it won't take them long to
>implement them at the rate they programme, so make it a standard which
>YOU have set, rather than have them take your idea, implement it
>themselves in their OWN standard which you later conform to yourselves,
>with a little alteration.

   As you pointed out in your message, Navigator already supports
multicolumn text, using the little-known MULTICOL tag.  When I saw that
CSS2 has a multi-column property, I wondered if this was another example of
the W3C style group implementing proprietary features as part of the
standard, due to vendor pressure.  Speaking personally, I have little use
for multi-column text in a monitor-based environment.  So cut it out, what
the heck do I care?
   Headers and footers are not supported by anyone, so far as I know.
Their usefulness is such that they'll make it into the standard eventually.
But is it really so crucial that they be part of CSS2?
   I would argue that it isn't.  The W3C should be seen as a leader, yes.
If this were a race, that would mean that the W3C should dart out in front
of the browser feature-lists... but this isn't a race.  At least, this
isn't a race where the W3C is directly competing with Microsoft, Netscape,
and whoever else enters the fray.
   The W3C should instead be seen as the sort of leader which leads an
army-- determining strategy and letting the different divisions strain to
win the most medals.  No matter which division gets more glory at any given
point-- Marc's Maulers or Bill's Badasses-- the overall goal of the
campaign is achieved so long as they are both headed in the same direction.
And while it's true that a leader who hesitates is lost, it is a reckless,
thoughtless commander who risks utter defeat, both without and within.  No
leader can win who does not control his own troops, or have their respect.
   So, if after careful consideration and consultation with the division
commanders, the Working Group decides that certain things should be
delayed, I say let them.  Meanwhile, I'll be in the trenches along with the
rest of us grunts.  Here is my spear, watch me carry it.

                                -- EMeyer

--
 From "Murphy's Laws of Combat":        \  Eric A. Meyer  #  eam3@po.cwru.edu
  Don't look conspicuous, it draws fire. \ http://www.cwru.edu/home/eam3.html
  Tracers work both ways.                 \        Hypermedia Systems Manager
  If the enemy is within range, so are you.\           Digital Media Services
  When in doubt, empty your magazine.       \ Case Western Reserve University
Received on Monday, 24 November 1997 10:41:09 GMT

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