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Re: OPINIONS WANTED: regexps in CSS? (Re: Suggestion for Attribute Selectors)

From: Ian Graham <igraham@smaug.java.utoronto.ca>
Date: Wed, 11 Mar 1998 15:37:08 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <199803112037.PAA19244@smaug.java.utoronto.ca>
To: davidp@earthlink.net (David Perrell)
Cc: www-style@w3.org

Having previously voiced my opinion that regular expressions might 
be useful in CSS, I find myself now less convinced. As David and
others have pointed out, one of the advantgages of CSS (and, in 
principle, CSS2) is its simple, declarative nature. -- it can't 
do everything, but what it can do -- express basic rules for
formatting and layout of content -- it does clearly.

I now tend to think that adding regex stuff would simply cloud
this simplicity, and make the whole thing harder to use.

I suspect that regular expression mechanisms, and other, more 
sophisticated coding, are best left to languages such as DSSSL
or XSL -- which, in principle, could spit out appropriate CSS
rules when a document is assembled for transmission to a browser.

This assumes, of course, that there can be a clean-ish separation
between starting markup, DSSSL/XSL, CSS and "rendered" markup. 
I do not know if that is always (or even often) true.


David Perrell wrote:
> Bert Bos wrote:
> >Everybody's opinion wanted!
> Regexps in CSS: much needed very seldom by very few.
> When I first became a CSS 'believer', it seemed to me that the primary
> goal should be a consistent property-based styling language that would
> simplify both markup and UA design. Considering the unfinished state of
> basic work in the CSS2 spec (e.g. tables) and the depressing state of UA
> support for even the basic CSS1 spec, I think any serious consideration
> of regexps is premature. The basic foundation still needs a lot of work.
> Although there's obviously a need for programmatic styling, I thought it
> was a foregone conclusion CSS wouldn't be the means.
> David Perrell
Received on Wednesday, 11 March 1998 15:38:12 UTC

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