W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > August 2002

Re: Markup and layout (was: Float overflowing behavior)

From: Jeremy Dunck <ralinon@hotmail.com>
Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 13:16:05 -0500
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-ID: <F70lx6EIfu4FbATcFZ400022a58@hotmail.com>

>From: Coises <Randy@Coises.com>
>The next time you're casually surfing the web, I invite you to make note
>of how many pages you encounter that are best described as primarily
>exhibiting markup/presentation (word processor) logic, and how many would
>be best represented as "page layout" designs.
>Then ask what's wrong with the current focus of web standards.

Coises, you bring up some good points regarding the difference between page 
layout and word processing.

I presume you do not mean to throw away the web that already is, and so I 
must ask, what have you got in mind?

I don't think that CSS is intended to be the end-all be-all for layout and 
presentation, but rather a vast improvement over the existing presentational 

I think that XSL-FO is intended to more completely address the problems 
which can't be addressed via a rule-based language.

Further, I'd submit that the web is intended to be far more than the virtual 
storefront that has thus far proliferated, and concentrating on a layout 
language would be perhaps a misuse of the resources available.

The web abstracts resource requests into representation responses.  It's up 
to the server to manage the resources to "pour" them into representations.  
It's a sad fact that many resources contain only a single representation, in 
static HTML.  However, what stops the publisher from creating various 
representations (including page layout) as they wish?  Only tool support, in 
my estimation.

I view CSS as a half-step (a good one, but still short of the mark) towards 
the real separation of presentation from content.  Of course it is a problem 
that (for example) a product image can't be arbitrarily located using only 
HTML and CSS, but it -can- be arbitrarily located by a server creating 
various HTML representations of the content.

XSL-FO simply provides a standardized mechanism for what can already be done 
(at a higher cost).

With the current standards, page layout could be largely controlled by 
server-side manipulation of various content sources, if only the tools were 
being developed.

I think many of the issues with productive growth in the web are rooted in 
misunderstandings and preconceptions, rather than flaws in the existing 

...I'm about to drift off of the topic of your thread, so I'll close here.  


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Received on Wednesday, 14 August 2002 14:16:36 UTC

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