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Re: The Conflicting Notions of Ease of Use and Need for Authoring Tools

From: Daniel Glazman <daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 21:48:58 +0100
Message-ID: <41D1C6BA.1030209@disruptive-innovations.com>
To: Orion Adrian <orion.adrian@gmail.com>
Cc: www-style@w3.org

Orion Adrian wrote:

> Let us please drop this notion that the authoring tool should be
> responsible for making CSS an effective language.

Thanks for caring for authoring tools, it's unfortunately quite rare [1].

With my Nvu [2] hat on, and working on both markup and style languages since
1991, I have to agree with you. Saying complexity in CSS is not a problem
because Wysiwyg editors should be able to hide that complexity to web authors
is just a false assertion. It's a false assertion because it defers complexity
to UI, instead of solving it from the very beginning, and UI's acceptable
complexity is relatively far lower than a CSS-alike language's acceptable
complexity.
Coders facing a complex language read a how-to or a spec; normal users facing
a tool with a complex UI just change the tool. If _you_ don't change the tool,
then you're a coder, you're able to read the spec anyway, right ?

I can easily prove the above : the biggest problem in Nvu - or in any wysiwyg 
editor that would like to implement CSS-generated styles - right now is
certainly the way the Object Model gives access to the styles. From a given
real style "this element's font weight is bold", it's just impossible to
retrieve the rule that caused that style. So it's impossible to really *MODIFY*
the styles of an arbitrary document, it's only possible to *OVERRIDE* them
using style attributes, !important, or artifically specificity-increased [2]
rules. As a side-effect, the current CSS Object Model and the impossibility
to reverse the cascade is one of the main reasons why we need the style
attribute, despite of what all the XML-everywhere fanatics keep saying.

That's very nice from a browser's point of view because it simplifies the
implementation, but that's a nightmare from an editor's one, trust me on that
please.

[1] http://glazman.org/weblog/dotclear/index.php?2004/12/03/725-ah-finally
[2] http://www.nvu.com
[3] use a few negated ID selectors with IDs you're sure to never have in
     your document instance...

</Daniel>
Received on Tuesday, 28 December 2004 20:49:08 GMT

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