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RE: How is it possible to devise such a feeble system?

From: Sampo Syreeni <decoy@iki.fi>
Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2001 13:11:24 +0200 (EET)
To: Jeffrey Yasskin <jyasskin@hotmail.com>
cc: <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.SOL.4.30.0110281248110.20968-100000@kruuna.Helsinki.FI>
On Fri, 26 Oct 2001, Jeffrey Yasskin wrote:

>Now, if CSS provided a way to express axes for headers, this table would
>be exactly equivalent to an HTML table to all CSS-capable browsers. The
>browser doesn't have to understand the new XML dialect, it just has to
>understand CSS.

So what is the role of XHTML? We have no need to standardize such a thing
if every last semantic thing there is can be enumerated as a valid value
for the display property. This is an objection I already raised: if table
/semantics/ can be marked in CSS, why not abbreviations, addresses,
citations and so on, ad nauseam?

My point is, both the grammar and the stylesheet have their specific
functionality. A XML schema and its documentation give us a shared
grammar, with human readable explanation of the actual underlying
semantics. The style language, its conceptual model and the relevant
documentation give us a description of the way XML can be rendered on
different media and describe a language for describing those renderings. I
don't think neither should straddle the boundary between style and
meaning. There have to be others who think this, too, because presentation
specific stuff is vanishing (if not gone) from (X)HTML. It would then only
be logical to clear CSS of any residual semantics it may have, through one
of interpretation, reinterpretation or deprecation.

>Without making CSS tables equivalent to HTML tables, an aural browser
>encountering a new XML dialect would be lost.

AFAICS, that is not the case. If you need table semantics, you can again
use XHTML Tables. If you need to render something the way tables are
rendered aurally, you mark it @media aural {display:table}. These two are
again overlapping, but separate, tasks. There is also no need to set the
display properties equally e.g. for aural and screen, but you can render
something as a linear sequence in speech while using a table layout for
visual.

>If we accept that aural browsers can use CSS tables in the same way they
>use HTML tables, it becomes clear why CSS tables shouldn't be used for
>layout either.

I don't see why aural should be any different from visual -- from my
viewpoint, it should derive document semantics and UI functionality from
the XML like a visual one does, and use CSS for content presentation rules
only. If you look at it from where I stand, what you're saying is not at
all clear.

Sampo Syreeni, aka decoy - mailto:decoy@iki.fi, tel:+358-50-5756111
student/math+cs/helsinki university, http://www.iki.fi/~decoy/front
openpgp: 050985C2/025E D175 ABE5 027C 9494 EEB0 E090 8BA9 0509 85C2
Received on Sunday, 28 October 2001 06:11:33 GMT

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