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Re: Last call comments on CSS3 module: color

From: Jonny Axelsson <jax@opera.no>
Date: Wed, 22 May 2002 17:59:31 +0200
To: Steven Pemberton <steven.pemberton@cwi.nl>, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Cc: www-style@w3.org, HTML WG <w3c-html-wg@w3.org>
Message-Id: <PJSQM3V95ZGDOIGGEPK93VSNLXT1V.3cebc063@falcon>
22.05.02 16:02:31, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch> wrote:

>Steven Pemberton wrote:
>> The X11 colour names are an abomination that should have been stifled at
>> birth, and adding them to CSS is a blemish on the otherwise excellent 
>> design of CSS.

>They are added to CSS merely to codify current practice. Almost every 
>browser supports them, and that isn't going to change (because it would 
>break many sites -- these colours have even been spotted in use on W3C test 

>Adding the exact list that is implemented by the majority of browsers gives 
>authors something to refer to.

As if everything once invented by browsers should be blessed and codified. 

This is simply a bad idea. There is a usability benefit in having some named 
colors, but this collection has negative usability. Particularily if you 
come from a non-US setting, though the naming scheme is so bad that I don't 
think you could get even an interior decorator to approve of it. I have 
talked about this with several web designers in different settings, not one 
has liked it. 

This colour collection effectively doubles the number of CSS keywords a web 
designer has to relate to. Since there is no rhyme or reason to them you 
will never know whether the colour you have specified is or is not is CSS 
approved, making debugging less than fun. Especially as you have no idea 
what colour the name is supposed to represent. Is Cornsilk on Peru a high 
contrast colour combination? You ask me.

Personally I would prefer a small number of colours (like the sixteen 
already defined in CSS2), but I think Steven's idea is far better if a 
multitude of colours are to be supported. The number of keywords to memorize 
will be drastically reduced to about a dozen modifiers and six base and less 
than a dozen special colours. This is managable. 

Quick tell me, which of these green colours are in X11?

(*) Applegreen
(*) Aquamarine
(*) Emerald
(*) Grass
(*) Neon
(*) Peagreen
(*) Seagreen

Jonny Axelsson
Opera software
Received on Wednesday, 22 May 2002 11:56:19 UTC

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