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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
layouts/presentations.

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.
http://terrainformatica.com

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. "

Source:
http://www.w3.org/Style/LieBos2e/history/


----- 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 GMT

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