W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > May 1999

Re: CSS3: font-style

From: Jean-Michel Leon <jmleon@eng.sun.com>
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 15:43:26 -0700
Message-ID: <374C790E.E84FBB8@eng.sun.com>
To: www-style <www-style@w3.org>
CC: Nicolas Lesbats <nlesbats@etu.utc.fr>, Bert Bos <Bert.Bos@sophia.inria.fr>


This is a bunch of comments that this proposal triggered in my mind. It
is not specifically related to that particular proposal, but are some
thoughts I have about design in general.

Ian Hickson wrote:
> 
> On Tue, 25 May 1999, Nicolas Lesbats wrote:
> 
> > Some months ago, I proposed a new value for the 'font-style' property,
> > named 'toggle' by Daniel Glazman, to get the following behaviour:
> >
> > When the inherited value corresponds to 'normal', then apply the
> > value 'italic'.
> >  When the inherited value corresponds to 'italic', apply the value
> > 'normal'.
> >
> > So, who is for and who is against ?
> 
> Seems like a reasonable suggestion to me.
> 



I don't know, but it doesn't seem reasonable to me, because where does
it stop ? Unless I am missing something (I know I missed the original
proposal - but again, I am not arguing on that particular topic), why so
you want to have a special case for 'italic' and 'normal' (I understand
that the proposals from Ian & David are a potential interesting
generalization of this). what about 'bold' and 'normal' ? Then you might
wanna do that for colors, as well ??? Then why not have another that
skips 1 on 3 levels ???? Then ....

You should not focus too much on the potential capabilities of CSS,
without thinking about how people going to use it: most of them are
going to use tools. and what they do with CSS will be limited by the
tools. As mentioned by someone else, you can already achieve this result
by writing more CSS rules. Do you really think a tool is going to
provide you with a UI that lets you specify this toggle mechanism ? Do
you really think that the people using these tools have a sense that
their word processor is working on a tree of objects, and what the
result of this thing could  be ? Certainly tools (databases) generating
XML/CSS content would have a better sense of that. But in their case,
they can just generate perfectly and without effort the right set of
rules to get the same effect.

You should think only about the result you wanna have when you render
the page. If you can achieve this result with what's already existing,
then you should reject the idea of making the system more complex to
achieve the same result more easily (in this case, with less lines).

I know that a lot of us are now writing CSS using emacs & notepad, and
that this situation is not about to stop, but that's not a good reason
for making the system more complex. Having ASCII based file formats is
enough, because it lets people bootstrap and prototype way before the
tools come out.

So it's never all black or white, and this particular case is tricky,
because the proposal would allow to get that toggle effect for any depth
of nesting, when by writing explicit rules you'd have to stop at some
point. but isn't that enough for 99% of the cases ? 
Making your system more complex for solving the last 1% is often a bad
idea. That's often when you loose simplicity & ubiquity. That's often
when you loose performance. It is often a better idea to live with that
missing 1% than to try to cope with it.

IMO, it'd be more valuable to wrap up CSS and be done with it, so that
everyone can build on top of that, than spending too much time trying to
make sure that CSS can do *everything* (even though 90% of everything
will never be used).


jm.
Received on Wednesday, 26 May 1999 18:44:40 GMT

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