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Re: CSS is doomed (10 years per version ?!?)

From: Orion Adrian <orion.adrian@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 1 Jul 2005 10:11:21 -0400
Message-ID: <abd6c801050701071137a66827@mail.gmail.com>
To: www-style@w3.org

I'm going to try and say this one more time because I feel my point is
being missed.

1) I'm not saying, abandon CSS, go MS. I never had. If I believed that
I wouldn't be involved in the process here.
2) Looking at what made Microsoft successful in the browser wars and
continues to make them successful with no new versions in 4 years I
think will lead to a better understanding of the market everyone here
is trying to influence. Simply saying "Monopoly, monopoly, monopoly"
is like saying the economy is solely influenced by the sale of men's
underwear. Their monopoly is one factor. It is not the only one. Take
a second to look at the other reasons they were successful.

I've had a lot of different jobs in the last 7 years. That's probably
why I ended up in usability.

I used to teach programming languages and web languages. One thing
that I noticed time and time again is that new people coming to the
language had a lot of trouble with layout in CSS. Other properties
were fairly easy to get, some like text-transform gave them a little
pause. But by and far the hardest thing was layout.

CSS layout fails on a lot of core usability grounds. I recognized the
failure even before I had read the books that described why they were

CSS layout isn't obvious. They way float is described doesn't lead
many to the idea that it should be used for multi-column layout.
Static, Absolute and Relative don't make a lot of sense to new people
coming into it. The fact that absolute is relative to the first
non-static content seems awkward to them and to me seems arbitrary,
which is why it's probably awkward to them.

Organizing space on a page, which is usually done from an overhead
view all at once here is done by manipulating a lot of properties
(margins, padding, etc). These produce complex interactions that are
hard to predict for someone whose has less than a lot of experience.

One of the major rules of usability is that your product's model
should match the existing mental model of the person using the
product. I feel CSS fails on this point. And I'm here not to promote
Microsoft, but to promote those values that I feel would make CSS
better using Microsoft's success as an example of why I feel they
would be benificial.

I hope that clears things up.

Orion Adrian
Received on Friday, 1 July 2005 14:11:25 UTC

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