W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > July 2004

Re: CSS and structure

From: Josh King <skierx@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2004 23:54:13 -0400
Message-ID: <926b742b040707205434e94c83@mail.gmail.com>
To: www-style@w3.org

On Wed, 07 Jul 2004 16:19:17 -0400, Orion Adrian <oadrian@hotmail.com> wrote:
> >I idle in #css on efnet (SkierX) and we attempt to help people with a
> >slew of questions regarding CSS everyday.  I cannot recall a single
> >instance in which any question ever involved a problem comprehending
> >the syntax.  There are individuals who have incorrect or poorly
> >written syntax, but in my experience everyone has grasped the basic
> >syntactical format (selector { property: value; }).  I feel any
> >attempt to alter this could only result in a language that is more
> >difficult to understand.
> There is a sweet spot when defining grammar (i.e. a place between too simple
> and too complex) that one wants to target in their design.
> The current system has lots and lots rules about interactions that aren't
> described by the grammar.
> Box properties can't be set on something using the Inline model, but can be
> with the Inline-Block model. This is just one of dozens of complex
> interaction rules.

This is true. I would argue, however, that simply including
indications in the grammar as to how things relate doesn't necessarily
make understanding those relations any easier. For new people to the
language grasping the underlying conecpt of the various boxes and
positioning is a real hurdle. Wholistic comprehension is something
grammatical inclusions would not compensate for. There are also
solutions aside from grammatical ones to deal with this type of a
thing. Take Bradbury's TopStyle program for example. There is a "Style
Checker" feature in that will list various a) shortcommings of styles
in browsers and b) best practice solutions. Solutions such as this
would allow explanations to be included with the problem, where the
grammar would not. You really can't be effective with CSS until you
"get it."  This means reading, reading and reading.

> Assembler is one of the simplest grammars, but it does little to help a
> person code.
> Operation Param [, Param] [, Param]
> But I don't like coding in assembler, nor do most people based on the
> quanities of people who flock to other languages.

Are you suggesting that people would code more in assembler if the
grammar was revised? I don't think that is a) true or b) a good
comparison. Assembler is just a hope skip and a jump away from the
hardware and CSS is a document presentation language. Aside from their
rather basic syntax, they are about as far apart on the language
spectrum as you could get.

> There is a point of complexity that should be targeted. Right now the
> grammar doesn't do the job it could.
> Orion Adrian
Received on Thursday, 8 July 2004 12:29:28 UTC

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