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

From: Jonny Axelsson <jax@opera.no>
Date: Thu, 30 May 2002 20:45:30 +0200
To: www-style@w3.org, Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>, Chris Lilley <chris@w3.org>
Cc: "Steven Pemberton" <steven.pemberton@cwi.nl>, Tantek Çelik <tantek@cs.stanford.edu>, "HTML WG" <w3c-html-wg@w3.org>, "Andrew Clover" <and@doxdesk.com>
Message-Id: <TOTQZVA9SRF0GCEBYXC9HC4XJHEDMHE0.3cf6734a@falcon>

30.05.02 12:32:55, Chris Lilley <chris@w3.org> wrote:
>On Wednesday, May 29, 2002, 11:34:15 PM, Kynn wrote:

>KB> So this is an argument against named colors; okay, but that doesn't
>KB> mean that _badly named_ colors are an acceptable choice either.
>Given that one of the arguments was the internationalization one
>(although that has not really come up before in terms of the rest of
>the english-language-using CSS specifications) then all predefined
>color names must be bad.

I was me that brought up the point of internationalization, so I think I 
should comment on that. 

You need a reasonably good command of English to be able to use W3C 
specifications, and that is no problem. The language is reasonably clear, 
and the terms are relevant. 

I learned the colors fuchsia, teal and maroon from HTML (originally VGA I 
think, I don't know as I used Mac at the time), and the pain of learning 
three new words was balanced by the gain of easily being able to see what 
"color: blue" meant (relative to #0000FF). 

The only argument I ever have heard for named colours is author convenience.  
For me X11 is not convenient at all. It adds hundreds of keywords to CSS 
that otherwise have rather few, and apart from a couple dozen they could all 
just as well have been "color: gobbledygook". I have now realized this is 
less of a point than I originally believed, the names make no sense to 
native English speakers either.

And while I had a couple minor problems with the HTML 16, such as "Is it 
grey or is it gray", those problems multiply exponentially (and as Steven 
mentioned, in X11 the brilliant answer to grey/gray is "you guess"). 

X11 is the only colour scheme where it is impossible for me to say whether 
some string is a valid colour or not. That matters. I may not be able to 
visualize all RGB or HSLA colours or whatever else the CSS WG is prepared to 
throw at me, but I can say immediately if it is a syntax error. With X11 I 
have no clue.

So what is the point in having a convenience feature (it doesn't add any 
power to CSS) that is so fundamentally inconvenient?

>>>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?

This is for Steven to answer, but really... He never said that, but (for me 
to put words in his mouth this time) that adding X11 to SVG was a 
mistake/mess and adding it to CSS will not make it less of a mess. I agree 
with that statement. Though I for the record can state that I *like* SVG, it 
doesn't mean that I think all decisions were good. There are a lot of great 
features other working groups can rob from SVG, why steal a misfeature?

Jonny Axelsson
Opera software
Received on Thursday, 30 May 2002 14:42:35 UTC

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