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Re: A heresy ?

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Fri, 21 May 2004 18:31:15 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200405211731.i4LHVFr04467@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: www-style@w3.org

> 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 hadn't seen that term used, but I've observed the process for
programming standards for a couple of decades.  If we are talking
about the same thing, the cycle is:

- lots of complex languages that don't do anything well;
- new niche language is invented which is concise and fits its niche
  very well;
- it becomes popular;
- standards committees are formed;
- features are added and it eventually becomes a universal language that
  is conceptually no different from the ones in the first step.

I'd agree that CSS is going that way.  I think SVG has gone further
and is going fast.  HTML is actually trying to go against this trend, but
will probably not get signficant commercial support.

The cycle generally restarts when people have forgotten the origins of
the participants in the previous cycle, and re-invent the original concept,
but in a different form.
Received on Friday, 21 May 2004 13:31:21 GMT

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