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Re: [CSS21] Font-family syntax

From: Etan Wexler <ewexler@stickdog.com>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 22:12:46 -0700
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-Id: <9306E2A0-F267-11D8-8F82-000502CB1B77@stickdog.com>

Justin Wood wrote to <mailto:www-style@w3.org> on 17 August 2004 in 
"Re: [CSS21] Font-family syntax" 
(<mid:4121C2EE.1060608@bacon.qcc.mass.edu>):

> Etan Wexler wrote:
>
>> There are many syntactic constructs which, though allowed by the 
>> prose description of 'font-family', are forbidden by the Appendix G 
>> grammar ...
>
> Does not a quoted string solve all these issues?

No.

Using <string> lexical types makes things convenient for style-sheet 
authors and for authoring tools. The issue remains outstanding for 
implementors of CSS parsers and for the specification's editors. 
Nothing about strings tells people whether the following is a valid 
style sheet.

     example { font-family: Trouble: A (Very) Troublesome Type Family & 
Interesting Prospect. ; }

It's the prose and the formal grammar that tell people whether the 
preceding is a valid style sheet. Unfortunately, there is contradiction 
between the two.

Mandating the use of the <string> type for all font-family names since 
the solidification of CSS1 would have avoided this problem, sure. But 
the decision to allow bare names was made circa 1995/1996, was made 
with a good share of reason, and is extremely unlikely to undergo 
reversal now.

In searching for the original discussion over the syntax of font-family 
names (which I failed to find), I found something that Bert Bos wrote 
in one of his many moments of prescience [1]:

"[We] should be very careful that we don't make any mistakes, because 
we probably can't fix them later."

[1]
Bert Bos.
"The style agenda".
30 May 1995.
Public correspondence on <mailto:www-style@w3.org>.
<mid:199505301915.AA262011341@freya.let.rug.nl>,
<http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/1995May/0010.html>.

-- 
Etan Wexler.
Received on Friday, 20 August 2004 05:15:01 GMT

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