W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > July 2003

Re: Center DIV

From: Afternoon <afternoon@uk2.net>
Date: Thu, 3 Jul 2003 23:54:43 +0100
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-Id: <562BD814-ADA9-11D7-AFB1-000A957E8988@uk2.net>

Firstly, can I just say that although this conversation was sparked by 
an off-topic post which should have gone to CSS-D, I think that these 
queries will continue to come here while there are only complicated 
answers available from CSS-D and the like. People, including myself, 
are unable to understand why things that are simple in HTML are 
unnecessarily complicated in CSS and I don't think that this situation 
should change. Why must it be hard to achieve a simple effect? Surely 
it should be getting simpler all the time as computer power increases?

> 1) People seem unable to grasp the concept that different jobs need
>    different tools**, e.g. if visual appearence is paramount, then PDF
>    has been much more appropriate at doing that, even in its pre-HTML
>    form, than HTML.

> ** Some of the things that people seem to want, like liquid layouts as
> good as handcrafted layouts, that work whatever the display technology
> and user preferences and overrides are still research topics.  
> Especially
> if you also want them to be intuitive to an 18 year old arts student.

I don't follow these points. I'm not asking for PDF or SVG. Visual 
appearance is important, but neither of those languages can flow 
information in the manner required to maintain the appearance. The web 
is not PDF anymore than it is TeX, it exists midway between those two 
and, IMHO, does at least 75% of each marvellously. HTML is easily the 
best medium for a generalised publishing framework.

My point on this list has always been that some of the simple, 
convenient and useful things possible with layout tables (for all their 
flaws) are impossible or unreasonably hard in CSS. Moving forward may 
be an area for research, but staying still is not and moving backward 
should not be necessary.

I agree with you that it is not the W3C's position to publish how-to 
materials. If this is the case I suggest that the W3C examine how this 
situation arose. At what point did CSS become so complicated that it 
requires the originators to explain themselves so laboriously and, more 
relevantly, is this situation consistent with the goals of the W3C? The 
W3C seeks to standardise technologies to realise the full potential of 
the web, does it not? How can it do this if it's technologies are 
unusable or unused by those who commonly create web pages?

> Book publishers have the luxury of being able to cater to people's 
> wants, as do browser developers.

Why does the W3C not have this luxury? I consider this the key ability 
of the organisation responsible for developing web technologies. 
Certainly it is essential if that organisation is to remain relevant. 
Consider the organisation's slow awakening to web services, that was a 
serious blow to credibility.


(q)	Ben Godfrey?
(a)	Web Developer and Designer
	See http://aftnn.org/ for details
Received on Thursday, 3 July 2003 18:54:50 UTC

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