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A heresy ?

From: Philip TAYLOR <P.Taylor@Rhul.Ac.Uk>
Date: Fri, 21 May 2004 16:03:57 +0100
Message-ID: <40AE1A5D.6050101@Rhul.Ac.Uk>
To: www-style@w3.org

Dear Colleagues -- I have followed (some of) the discussions
on this list for some time, and occasionally chipped in
questions or observations of my own.  What has worried me
for some time, however, that CSS seems to be in /grave/ danger
of becoming [yet another] instance of Knuth's
"n'th-system syndrome".  For those not familiar with the term,
I cite Knuth from his address to the University of Oslo in
August 2002 [1]:

	"All programming languages have this n-th system syndrome,
	 where they take what they know how to do well, and they
	 clean it up, and then they add a new feature, that they
	/don't/ understand."

There is no doubt at all that CSS-1 was a Good Idea [tm].
CSS-2 added a great deal.  But CSS-3, whatever it will
eventually be, seems to me that it is likely to be /so/
complex, /so/ "all powerful", that few will understand it,
fewer still will use it, and the great unwashed will
remain in total ignorance of what they /might/ have been
able to accomplish had the powers-that-be just "finished off"
CSS-2 rather than trying to extend CSS to be all things to
all men.

Philip Taylor

[1] Taken from /TUGboat/, The Communications of the TeX Users
   Group : Vol.~23, Nos 3/4, 2002 : ISSN 0896-3207
Received on Friday, 21 May 2004 11:05:34 UTC

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