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Re: Length unit relative to media width

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2003 07:43:50 +0000 (GMT)
Message-Id: <200302210743.h1L7hod07772@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: www-style@w3.org

> This is the direction W3C has moved, with the consequense that it is 

This is the direction that created the web, it dates back to at least
TB-L's original concept paper.  What W3C is trying to do is to regain
some of the original philosophy, after commercialisation made it
just another desk top publishing language.

> is  the only one approved by w3c. As a result, one have to use propritary 
> formats like pdf to make web-documents that looks similar to paper 

Is PDF all that much more proprietory than W3C standards?  They are both
published standards with no royalties on third party implementations
(actually, there seems pressure in some areas for W3C to use technologies
that require third party patent royalties).  They both have freeware
implementations.  The design decisions for both are made behind closed
doors, by decision makers with commercial interests in mind.  PDF does
have a good reference implementation (slightly imperfect, but more
complete than CSS2), though.

> documents.

In the time frame in which you could get a new feature into CSS 
(but subject to commercial decisions by Microsoft, but that applies
to any new W3C feature), if you only care about screen presentation,
you should be considering using SVG.  Unfortunately this will confirm
my worst fears about SVG's accessibility considerations being only
window dresssing.  In my view, although a W3C standard, SVG owes
its lineage much more to PDF than to HTML.

At the moment, though, in my view PDF is a much better match to 
marketing uses of HTML, and I find it amusing how it tends to be
used for the technical documents that would be good candidates
for HTML, whereas the marketing people, who really want a purely
visual, page description language, not an information markup 
language, use HTML for mainly fashion reasons (and partly becuase
Adobe etc. failed to spot a market - but many web pages aren't only
leaf nodes in the WWW, anyway, and even the early 1990s PDF was
OK as a leaf node).

Arguably PDF, in its current generation is slightly better for
accessibility, as it takes the view of being mainly a final form
presentational language with structural hinting, whereas HTML is a
structural language with presentational hinting, and to produce good
accessible documents in SVG you really need to do an XSLT transformation
of HTML into SVG in the browser.  In practice, I doubt that many more
commercial designers will hint PDF than will write the XSLT.  (HTML,
being primarily structural means people who don't care about structure
tend to mangle the structure to get the presentation, whereas the other
options are much more honest about being for presentation.)
Received on Friday, 21 February 2003 02:49:48 GMT

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