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Re: X11 Colors (was Last call comments on CSS3 module: color)

From: Steven Pemberton <steven.pemberton@cwi.nl>
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2002 00:57:05 +0200
Message-ID: <043a01c210d2$27b40140$740b9e0a@srx41p>
To: "Chris Lilley" <chris@w3.org>, <www-style@w3.org>
Cc: Tantek Çelik <tantek@cs.stanford.edu>, "HTML WG" <w3c-html-wg@w3.org>, "Andrew Clover" <and@doxdesk.com>

Chris Lilley:
> Steven,
> Given that you are also proposing the (brain-dead, known flawed) HSV
> system with its multitude of known problems in terms of usability you
> are on rather shaky ground making thsese sorts of statements.

Actually not. Agreed HSL is not perfect, but usability tests have shown it
is far better than RGB. Ben Shneiderman and Jim Foley both came out and said
so too, so I'm not alone. (Not HSV by the way).

Maybe you forgot that I was a supporter of CNS when we were both in the CSS
WG. I only proposed HSL because your suggestion of using CNS didn't go
through, and I believe named colors are useful, and I couldn't find anything
better than HSL.

> SP> And shouldn't be. Two messes do not make a clean design.
> Ah, not only are X11 colors a mess but now, SVG is a mess too?

Don't get touchy. X11 is a mess, and it is mess using them. I did NOT say
that SVG is a mess, nor do I think it is.

> Again,
> thats pretty rich coming from the HTML working group. How many
> implementations pass the XHTML test suite? Oh, yes, there isn't one.
> HTML is one large, smelly mess, and worse due to the design flaws in
> XHTML 1.x that allowed content to be served to existing browsers as if
> that would somehow work, it is spreading non well formed content that
> purports to be XML. So please, get you own house in order before
> accusing others of "mess".

I didn't accuse SVG of a mess, I accused X11 color names of a mess, and in
my original posting said exactly why. It's unlike you to get so nasty Chris.

> Moving onto technical topics - what better solution would you propose?

Your one. My one. Any solution that follows the general principles:

    Colour names should suggest their colour.
    The name for a colour should be reasonably guessable.
    The available colours names should be reasonably spread over the colours

(I can add a few other lesser principles, for instance: consistent use (X11
has 'darkgray' which is lighter than 'gray'!), minimise cultural references.
I agree that using English is already a cultural reference, but "dodgerblue"
is even more of one.)

> If only XHTML clients actually had XML parsers, you could define them
> yourself and use them.

Actually Schemas don't support entities, so there's a problem even if they

> >> > 1) Take the standard 6x6x6 internet non-dithering color cube that is
> >> > implemented everywhere, and agree on names for each of the colors
> ROFL. Non-dithering?

I was quoting from some website or another. I don't think it is a good idea
either, if you're interested.

> SP> But they have been widely consistently implemented for many years and
> SP> by web authors in documents for many years. It is time to standardise
> SP> Web authors need something to refer to!
> They way they are used is already standardized, so thats a no-op.

In case you missed it, what you quote was an attempt by me at an ironic

> Chuckle. Real colors that actually use color theory were too big a
> change for CSS1, too big a change for CSS2, too big a change for CSS3
> .... there is always a next version.

Yes, I agree. Sad isn't it?

> XML content on non-XML clients, thats perfect XHTML1.x, no?

Only XHTML 1.0. It was Tim Berners-Lee's idea actually. I'd talk to him if I
were you.

> >> > Authors should not be encouraged to use the X11 colours.
> >>
> >> Why?
> SP> 'Cause they're badly designed, badly distributed over the spectrum,
> SP> named, include cultural references, ... see my earlier mail.
> Rather like HSL is badly designed and badly distributed over the
> 'spectrum' (the color space).

Like I said, it is not perfect, but it is better designed, and better
distributed over the 'colour space' than X11 colours. (In my original mail,
if you are interested, I only addressed the spectrum, but indeed the X11
colour set is badly distributed over the whole colour space).

> And has poor usability, something you
> forgot to mention but a subject, I know, that is dear to your heart.

No, I didn't forget. Like I said, HSL has been tested for usability, and
came out much better than what is available in CSS at present.

> See my earlier emails. From 1996.

And mine.

Received on Monday, 10 June 2002 18:57:34 UTC

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