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Re: [CSS21] response to issue 151

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2004 16:42:48 +0200 (EET)
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.58.0402171607540.4542@korppi.cs.tut.fi>

On Tue, 17 Feb 2004, Ian Hickson wrote:

> On Sat, 14 Feb 2004, David Woolley wrote:
> >>
> >>     # For XHTML and other languages written in XML, no attribute
> >>     # should be considered presentational. The styling of elements and
> >
> > I would say most attributes in SVG were presentational!
>
> We have changed that text to read:
>
> | For other languages, all document language-based styling should be
> | handled in the user agent style sheet.

This avoids the pseudo-term "presentational", but I honestly cannot
understand what it is intended to say. What is "document language-based
styling"? ("Presentational" is really confusing, since it means, among
other things, that tags and attributes magically turn to
non-presentational when the XHTML syntax is used.)

Is the heart of the matter the question whether the rules that map markup
construct to stylistic features is (at least conceptually) part of a
browser's default style sheet or a fictitious prefix to the page's style
sheet? If it is, I think it is questionable whether the distinction
matters, or can realistically be implemented and maintained not only in
browsers but also in authors' minds. In either case, confusion and
problems will arise.

What really matters in practice is how markup language definitions and
browsers define and describe exactly how markup is mapped to CSS
(in reality or conceptually). This won't be easy, but to make it more
feasible, the logic should be as simple as possible.

So I think the whole of 6.4.4 should be reduced to simple statements:
If user agents treat markup elements and attributes in a manner that
affects the rendering, they should do this in a documented manner.
Any features of presentation that are describable in CSS terms should
be so described in the documentation as CSS rules and be treated as
part of the user agent's style sheet. The definitions of markup
languages should describe the same way the correspondence of markup
and CSS, to the extent that presentation describable in CSS is part of the
meaning of an element or attribute.

(This could be illustrated with a few examples and accompanied with a
statement saying that the sample style sheet for HTML is _not_ such a
description but suggestive only.)

-- 
Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Tuesday, 17 February 2004 09:42:50 GMT

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