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

Re: author-defined color aliases

From: Ben Godfrey <afternoon@uk2.net>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 10:25:05 +0100
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-Id: <94C11710-A0A5-11D7-9383-000A957E8988@uk2.net>

> What I was saying is that, if someone has something to say HTML has 
> the tools to allow them to do it quite well.


> If they also want to make that something sound good when mechanically 
> spoken or look good and, at the same time, be easily readable, when 
> viewed visually, learning a styling language is one of the least 
> things they need to learn.

This is a good point and the web is always going to suffer from people 
using red text on a bright pink background. However, once you get 
through basic things like not making people sick when they view your 
page you start to get into the subtler and much more important issues 
of designing pages. Pages that can be touted around web without 
malfunctioning so badly that somebody finds them completely useless or 
the layout breaks enough to look shonky and reflect badly on the 
creator. It is then that the designer needs help from CSS.

Currently creating fluid layouts in CSS is laborious. With tables the 
first part, defining the grid, was easy, even if the details soon got 
far too complicated. With CSS it's complicated off the bat. It's 
powerful, I don't doubt that, in fact I think it's too powerful. It 
gives the user about a mile of rope to hang themselves with. What we 
need, IMHO, is syntax that reflects the way beginners and non-technical 
designers talk about a page. Things like "navigation on the left". They 
key is the relationship, not the co-ordinates.

We talked about constraint-based CSS, which looked like an interesting 
proposal and allowed for users to specify relationships easily, but it 
was also rather involved and would not have complimented the current 
structure of CSS very well. Personally I think the key is grids. Ask 
any designer and they'll tell you how important  grids are to the 
layout process. A new set of display modes, grid, grid-cell, etc, that 
build on the way tables work but remove the complexity that arises 
because tables are for data and allow more layout control would be my 
suggestion. I know grids are crap when you come to view the page in a 
very small or very large window, but that is something that media 
queries could address. Either that or a system of controlled 
degradation could be built into the logic for rendering grid items.


(q)	Ben Godfrey?
(a)	Web Developer and Designer
	See http://aftnn.org/ for details
Received on Tuesday, 17 June 2003 05:25:13 UTC

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