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Re: Multiple Background Images

From: Orion Adrian <orion.adrian@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 4 Dec 2004 11:08:12 -0500
Message-ID: <abd6c801041204080849abc30d@mail.gmail.com>
To: www-style@w3.org

I do believe we've seen the limits of CSS. It was designed so that
properties did not have context or structure. CSS properties often
represent a multitude of actual presentation properties (e.g. float).
No generic system was put in place to handle
  a) array properties
  b) combinitorial fallback (i.e. when one property fails, other
properties should also fail because of their interactions)
  c)  unambiguous identification of values in combination properties
(e.g. background)
  d) user-defined constants

A and b I think are especially destructive to long-term success of the
system, though CSS's lack of context producing structure I believe
will be it's ultimate downfall. This lack of context producing
structure forces systems to implement and array of complex interaction
maps (i.e. property x allows values y, z and w only when property a's
value is b). Context would allow much simpler interaction maps at a
gramatical level without introducing them as a runtime evaluation.
Though the biggest gains would be in the realm of CSS authors. I am a
certified master CSS author and I find keeping track of what
properties affect what to be extremely difficult. The interactions of
various CSS properties are convoluted enough to make you want to pull
your hair out. I can assure you that this is not a simple system at
all having tried to explain it to dozens of people.

Simplification of grammar is a laudible goal, but not at the expense
of learnability, the ability to retain it and usability.

I am not complaining about CSS simply to get my own proposal accross,
but rather to suggest that CSS 3 do what XHTML 2 did and break away
from mistakes of the past. I am confident that a new grammer could be
put together that handles all of these issues well. I am also
confident that a cleansing fire can be put to many of the properties
of CSS so they can be replaced by simpler, mutually-exclusive
properties. Doing so I believe will promote growth in the CSS
community. Letting the diseased parts of CSS survive will just make
the whole forest sick.

Orion Adrian
Received on Saturday, 4 December 2004 16:08:51 UTC

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