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CSS design goal, was: Re: The Progress of CSS

From: Andrew Fedoniouk <news@terrainformatica.com>
Date: Fri, 1 Jul 2005 14:21:51 -0700
Message-ID: <00e101c57e82$e5b3a0d0$3201a8c0@TERRA>
To: <www-style@w3.org>, "Adam Kuehn" <akuehn@nc.rr.com>

I think everybody would like to know the main
purpose of CSS 2.0/2.1 design.
More interesting in fact is to know CSS design
goal in general.

What is the main motivation/purpose of CSS devlopment?
What is the final target/direction?

I can see two possible answers:

1) To define in CSS all current layout features of HTML 4.0 to
be able to reproduce HTML 4.0 layout on any "abstract
tree". I understand the target but cannot understand its purpose.

2) To define in CSS convenient set of presentational
features allowing to implement flexible yet simple to use

For me it seems that WG is moving in first direction
(e.g. all this naive and straightforward attempts to *emulate*
table layout and at some extent only, sic! )

I think that #1 is not a goal for such an abstract presentational
language as CSS. E.g. SVG has it's own layout specific features
and this does not definitely mean that CSS 4 needs to absorb
them too.

I honestly think that #2 is a right direction.
HTML, SVG, XUL, XAML, {yet unknown}  will have their own
features and CSS can bring them new quality but not
substitute them.

If we will switch to #2 then we can exit CR right now (I guess).
(Just remove display: table-* as anyway it does not
allow to emulate tables in full)

If we will switch to #2 then we can finally start thinking
about something new in principle: e.g. simple flow:horizontal
versus ugly, too heavy and specific display: table.
Probably, I hope, we even can start thinking about flex units (aka %%)
and generalize them. Sigh....

If we will switch to #2 then we can start implementing all that
highly demanded features versus "fighting against
windmills" ((C), Don Quixote ) - reiplementation of
existing features already in use.

Andrew Fedoniouk.

Some historical citations:

"One of the features of the Argo style language was that it was general 
enough to apply to other markup languages in addition to HTML. This also 
became a design goal in CSS and "HTML" was soon removed from the title of 
the specification. "

"CSS level 2 became a Recommendation in May 1998, and level 3 will probably 
follow towards the end of 1999. In the meantime, not only HTML relies on CSS 
for its presentation. Many XML-based formats also need CSS, and the browsers 
that come out in late 1998 show the first, still somewhat limited, steps 
towards presenting XML data. "


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Adam Kuehn" <akuehn@nc.rr.com>
To: <www-style@w3.org>
Sent: Friday, July 01, 2005 1:18 PM
Subject: The Progress of CSS

| Lost in the various Holy Wars of the "CSS is doomed" thread is the
| concern about time.  I think that is an important and valid concern.
| Although the current CSS2.1 spec is the only version of CSS2 directly
| linked from the W3C home page, 2.1 still carries the notation, "It is
| inappropriate to cite this document as other than work in progress."
| The "current" Recommendation, therefore, is CSS2.  CSS 2.1, moreover,
| says of itself that compared to CSS2, it "corrects a few errors" and
| "adds a few highly-requested features".  I read that as saying, in
| short, that it is a relatively minor revision.
| That's as of today, 1 July, 2005.  Yet the "current" version carries
| the date 18-May-1998.  That's more than SEVEN YEARS for a relatively
| minor revision.
| Whatever message you have taken from the rest of the thread, I think
| it should be clear that the process is taking too long and effort
| should be made to speed it up.  I'm not meaning to suggest that the
| working group is lazy, or that resources are being squandered.
| Mostly I am suggesting that these limitations should be recognized,
| and the process itself should be streamlined.
| If CSS3 has to wait to become a formal Rec more than seven years
| after CSS2.1 is finally approved, CSS may, in fact, be doomed.
| -- 
| -Adam Kuehn
Received on Friday, 1 July 2005 21:22:50 UTC

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