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Re: [css3-ui] Problems with :read-only and :read-write

From: Adam Kuehn <akuehn@nc.rr.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 10:41:35 -0400
Message-Id: <p06230904bf17cd986172@[]>
To: Orion Adrian <orion.adrian@gmail.com>, www-style@w3.org

Orion Adrian wrote:
>Is the consensus of people not me in this group that HTML/CSS can't be
>made accessible by default?

I've not been following this whole discussion, but this point 
confused me.  In my view, HTML/CSS *is* "accessible by default", in 
so far as it allows a designer to semantically mark up any page, and 
then present it visually (or otherwise) in the manner that they 
choose.  A competent designer can achieve nearly any look they want 
and still use solid, informational markup.  How is that not being 
"accessible by default"?

Of course, HTML/CSS is a very powerful system, so it also allows 
incompetent designers to completely screw things up.  In fact, part 
of the problem with the system is that the legacy methods for visual 
presentation, which were inadequately represented in the system, made 
abuse the standard practice.  But abuse is no longer built into the 
system.  This group and some others have fought very hard for that 
exact result.

>We don't live in a world limited by
>physics (outside of hardware) so why not come up with a solution that
>doesn't allow people to abuse it?

But we do live in a world with hundreds of millions of existing pages 
and terabytes of useful information that were built on abuse. 
Support for that abuse, as awful as it is, simply cannot be 
discontinued, because the market won't stand it.  This is a social 
question, not one of physics.  As I see it, the *potential* for abuse 
will always be present in the system until the web itself undergoes a 
major paradigm shift, or becomes entirely obsolete (neither of which 
seems likely to happen anytime soon, quite frankly).  It is no longer 
possible to design away the potential for abuse, even as we strive to 
make non-abusive design progressively easier.

>And I'm not saying follow the desires of the member companies. I'm
>saying follow the needs of the users of the web and not the web
>designers. Though I'm confident the web designers will thank you in
>the end.

Sorry, but you cannot ignore the developers and designers, even if 
you want to.  If a system is easy for users but difficult for 
developers, developers will generally find an easier system, even if 
that costs the users in the end.  Leaving out the developers 
typically means leaving the users with nothing to use.  This 
principal was pretty convincingly illustrated by Apple vs. Microsoft, 
in my view (although we should not debate the merits of OS design on 
this list).  The point is, developers are a very important 
constituency, and ease of development should be a major goal, even if 
it isn't the only (or even the primary) goal.

>HTTP was designed not for stated application, but for
>stateless documents. HTML was originally made as document language,
>but is migrating to an application language.

It is migrating that way because of the extensive demand for it. 
Users want the ability to do their banking online.  They want to 
order books, music, toys, electronics, hardware, and many (if not 
most) other consumer goods from the convenience of their living room. 
It is efficient for the consumer.  There's seems little point in 
lamenting that the language wasn't designed for the purpose.

>We lost drag/drop in the early days so it had to be added back and it
>still isn't there really. We lost accessible design, which isn't
>really being added back. We lost file explorers for dealing with our
>files and so I can only organize now what's local, and not all the
>things out there. We've lost so much and all I hear is, well we just
>need to progress some more.

What concrete proposals for changes in the CSS model can you make to 
fix these perceived problems?  Stop complaining and start proposing 
something concrete and actually relevant to the list.  If your 
proposal is to entirely abandon the CSS model and use something else, 
I would suggest that a list devoted to the design of CSS itself is 
not the right place to do that.  Perhaps you should check with the 
W3C Technical Architecture Group <http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/>.

>So I say let the web be about sharing content and not applications.

You are holding back the tide with your hands.  You don't get to 
decide what the web is used for.  It's as simple as that.


-Adam Kuehn
Received on Thursday, 4 August 2005 14:43:17 UTC

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