W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > July 2001

Re: Stretchy backgrounds? (background-width,height properties)

From: Dylan Schiemann <dylans@yahoo.com>
Date: Sat, 7 Jul 2001 21:14:03 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <20010708041403.45537.qmail@web13503.mail.yahoo.com>
To: Stuart Ballard <sballard@netreach.com>, www-style@w3.org

--- Stuart Ballard <sballard@netreach.com> wrote:
> Some time ago, I posted in the n.p.mozilla.style
> newsgroup a question
> that boiled down to "Does CSS support
> background-width and
> background-height properties? If not, will it be in
> CSS3?". The answer I
> received can be found in
> but
> amounts to "the CSS WG doesn't think this is
> useful".
> The message I linked to on the mozilla news server
> has a full proposal
> on exactly how background-width and
> background-height should be
> specified. According to that message, this
> specification was posted by
> Ian Hickson on this list at some time, but the
> mailing list search
> mechanism on w3.org didn't pull it up.
> What the mailing list search did pull up, however,
> was at least four
> separate requests from different people for this
> exact feature. The most
> recent was in March 2001, and the others were in
> November 2000, November
> 1999 and one message as far back as August 1997.
> To my mind, each of these threads is almost adequate
> by itself as
> justification for the provision of this feature in
> CSS3; the fact that
> four different people (five if you include myself)
> have independently
> requested it over a period of four years should
> certainly be enough to
> counter the assertion that this "isn't useful".
> Since I cannot find any argument *against* this
> functionality anywhere
> at all other than the second-hand comment in the
> message I linked, I
> would like to ask what it would take to re-open this
> issue for possible
> inclusion in CSS3. If there are concrete reasons
> *not* to specify this,
> I would at least like to know what they are. If the
> only reason that it
> "isn't useful", I would ask the WG members to
> reconsider this
> evaluation. At least 5 people have thought it useful
> enough to actually
> go out and ask the WG to consider supporting it, and
> the discussion
> thread in n.p.m.style indicates that at least two
> other people are in
> favor of the idea (and one of them is apparently
> Hixie who certainly is
> someone who knows what he's talking about in this
> area).
> Please take the word of web developers in this area
> and believe us when
> we say that the function would be useful to us,
> rather than deciding for
> yourselves that we don't need it.
> By the way, if you want potential uses of this
> feature, see any of the
> threads that show up when searching for
> background-width on the w3.org
> mailing list search engine, or the linked thread. If
> you still aren't
> convinced of the fact that there are potential uses,
> ask me and I'll
> provide some more :)
> Stuart.


It is my experience that most new ideas or major
objections to drafts and recommendations are pretty
much ignored except when it comes to correcting errors
or clarifying the spec.  While this may be harsh, even
those proposals which are liked by many of the members
and which undergo much discussion on this list rarely
result in action.  

Some examples:

- background-size, height/width

- opposition to the inclusion of X11 named colors in
the css3 color spec.
- the ability to use text as a background and to
specify how it would be positioned and repeat.

- selectors which specify elements that match the
parent element of a matched child

- better definitions for opacity

The usual arguments are the desire to prevent bloat,
and problems with backwards compatibility.  However,
the first cannot be taken seriously in my opinion when
the X11 named colors are added to the spec.  And while
backwards compatibility is important, if it prevents
any sort of innovation and or improvement to the
specification, then this language will never be able
to fix its many problems, limitations, and

I also think that the working group gets tired of
hearing bad ideas such as the frequent request to add
colored scrollbars.  But there are develoeprs out
there with extensive experience working with css that
actually do come up with ideas that are good.  I feel
that the working group does little or nothing to make
use of this group of people (or if they do, it
certainly isn't verbalized).   I've pretty much given
up putting effort into proposing new ideas because I
have yet to see anything come out of them.  Not that
all of my ideas were good, but several never received
even a single reply or comment, good or bad.

-Dylan Schiemann

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Received on Sunday, 8 July 2001 00:14:04 UTC

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