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

Re: Center DIV

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Sun, 6 Jul 2003 20:21:26 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200307061921.h66JLQJ00531@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: www-style@w3.org

> Who are the people who can't distinguish between HTML, CSS, etc,

Most of people who ask (off topic) "how to" questions on the www-html mailing
list (HTML is the popular code word for anything that can be done with
IE).  You don't get that sort of question here because people who 
post here tend to have to understand the distinction to realise that
this list might exist.

.... why can't they distinguish between

Probably because the market is immature and you can sell yourself as
a web designer without any real knowledge of the subject.

> those technologies, and why is it bad?  When an end user can't tell
.... that multiple technologies are

Because it normally means that a designer doesn't understand the medium
they are using.  (One intended characteristic of that medium was actually
that there shouldn't really be people who were only producers or only
consumers; the original design of HTML was simple and deliberately
rejected features like colours (colour explicitly) to make it easy for
anyone to create documents.  Although commercial producers have largely
re-asserted their position, users still have more power than for most

When a designer doesn't understand the difference between CSS and HTML, they
start putting important information into the CSS which cannot be processed
by some users or automata.

> What standards have, in the past, "degenerated" because they were made
.... able to do more things?  What

I can't be sure, but I suspect you are in your twenties.  Whilst computing
hardware makes real advances, computing software tends to go round in
circles, with every step being promoted as progress and with people often
failing to realise that the new is just a re-hash of the old.  The 
changes in hardware can make some things possible, or possible for a wider
audience, of course.  If you are quite young, you may not have seen this
process, but....

HTML was initially radical because it rejected presentational characterisics,
but is being turned back into something equivalent to the desk top publishing
languages that actually pre-dated it.  (Those languages may have been only
machine readable, but HTML is heading that way.)

LDAP stands for *lightweight* directory access protocol, but even before it
was released it started to become more complex than the X.500 protocol from
which it was cut back (because that was considered to have grown too complex).

PL/I was designed as universal programming language, and was used for some
time, but eventually died out.

CPL was another such language, which never fully got implemented.
It produced a very simple, untyped, language, called BCPL as a tool,
that did get some use and was an ancestor of C.  C got more and more
strongly typed, and then became C++, which was even more strongly typed
still.  Whilst CPL didn't have the full object concept, I believe it had
a lot of the data abstraction that is in C++.  Other historic languages,
of that vintage, had it.

People then started using simple untyped (although in a different,
but not particularly new, way) languages like ECMAScript and VBScript.

XML was intended to be a simplified SGML, but is now becoming more 
complex, and is also adopting characteristics of ASN.1, which would also
have been considered more complex.

At one stage, people hand coded PostScript, but they now just using it
as a printer interface language, even though it is very powerful scripted
graphics language.  (There is a big fashion element here as well;  HTML
partly succeeded because PDF, a sort of static PostScript, was considered
old fashioned.)

The real technological advances in the nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries got the public into a state where you could sell any change
as being "progress".
Received on Sunday, 6 July 2003 15:45:57 UTC

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