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Re: WD-CSS21-20020802 section 8, "Box model", substantive comments

From: Etan Wexler <ewexler@stickdog.com>
Date: Tue, 04 Mar 2003 03:12:57 -0800
To: www-style@w3.org, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Cc: Bert Bos <bert@w3.org>, Tantek Çelik <tantek@cs.stanford.edu>, Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@opera.com>
Message-id: <BA89A03C.F7%ewexler@stickdog.com>

Ian Hickson wrote to <www-style@w3.org> on 28 February 2003 in 'Re:
WD-CSS21-20020802 section 8, "Box model", substantive comments'
(<mid:Pine.LNX.4.50.0302280537580.23128-100000@dhalsim.dreamhost.com>):

> I have good reason to believe that humiliation works better than almost
> any other incentive to doing the right thing.

I am genuinely interested to know your reason. Has humiliation shaped the
development of Mozilla?

>> It is the normative text which defines compliance. Neither prevailing
>> wisdom, nor consensus among list members, nor collective consciousness
>> has any bearing in the definition of compliance once published.
> 
> Actually all these things can still affect the spec, as witnessed by their
> effect on the CSS2 errata.

I was not clear in my statement. Many factors can influence a revision of a
W3C specification. None can alter a given version of the specification. If
the version is a Recommendation, any criteria within are effectively upheld
and promoted until such time as a contrary Recommendation emerges.

>> [...] what is bothering me is the
>> prospect that a vendor could release a decrepit implementation, call it
>> compliant, and be correct.
> 
> So what.

Ultimately, I'd like the ability to hold vendors accountable and make them
honest. But if my irritation stems from the truth of their claims, what
recourse do I have?

> This fix requires that XForms implementations not render XForms controls
> with native UI, and yet it allows <object> elements to be given non-CSS
> borders.

That is correct.

> It fails to mention XFrames, XLink and SVG yet adds even more
> language-specific text to a supposedly language-agnostic spec.

The note currently in CSS 2.1 pointedly mentions HTML. I took my cue from
that.

> And it is huge, without any particular improvement.

This is rather a matter of opinion, but I must disagree, especially given
the ratio of the length of my proposed addition to the length of the entire
CSS 2.1 specification.

> What about an implementation of CSS that applies it to XUL, a proprietary
> XML-based user interface language styled with CSS? Does your text make
> such an implementation non-compliant for using native borders on its UI
> controls?

Yes.

> I think a much better solution would be to leave as is in 2.1, and change
> the restriction in CSS3 to be "UAs must render borders as specified unless
> the 'appearance' property has a non-'none' value.".

I think that a much better solution would be to augment the expressive power
of CSS, whether that be within style sheets themselves or through some
mechanism like XBL [XBL] (which, I recall, you are planning to propose for
wider adoption).

Remember, nobody is forcing vendors to implement CSS as their styling
mechanism. If native user interface idioms are of primary importance, CSS is
inappropriate.

[XBL]
David Hyatt, editor.
"XBL - XML Binding Language".
23 February 2001.
<http://www.w3.org/TR/xbl/>.
Received on Tuesday, 4 March 2003 06:13:31 GMT

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