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Re: The Progress of CSS

From: Etan Wexler <ewexler@stickdog.com>
Date: Fri, 01 Jul 2005 18:28:14 -0400
Message-ID: <42C5C37E.6080601@stickdog.com>
To: CSS specification-development list <www-style@w3.org>

Adam Kuehn wrote to the CSS specification-development list 
(<mailto:www-style@w3.org>) on 1 July 2005 in “The Progress of CSS” 

> 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.

Sure, but CSS2 is a W3C Recommendation in name only. What is the 
practical status of a specification that never entered a call for 
(<http://www.w3.org/2004/02/Process-20040205/tr.html#cfi>) and never 
exited successfully therefrom 
(<http://www.w3.org/2004/02/Process-20040205/tr.html#cfr>)? (Answer: far 
below the status of a specification that has withstood such trial.) Do 
the CSS Working Group and other organs of the W3C recommend the wide 
(<http://www.w3.org/2004/02/Process-20040205/tr.html#RecsW3C>) of CSS2? 
(Answer: no; the organizational weight is behind CSS2.1.)

> 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.

In some sense, it is true that CSS2.1 is a minor revision. Changes like 
altering the box model or adding new sets of properties will wait for 
CSS3. In another sense, this revision was a major undertaking that 
consumed hundreds of person-hours of review, consideration, tracking, 
writing, editing, and discussion. That labor served to resolve over 900 
issues (<mid:Pine.LNX.4.61.0506301052540.7173@dhalsim.dreamhost.com>, 
Those resolutions gave us a specification that reflects reality and 
specifies bothersome corner cases.

> 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.

Consider part of that time as standing in lieu of the Candidate 
Recommendation stage.

> 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.

The process is taking too long for what?

The W3C itself has issued “Tips for Getting to Recommendation Faster” 
(<http://www.w3.org/2002/05/rec-tips>). What else would you suggest?

> [...] the process itself should be streamlined.

In what ways should we streamline the process?

> 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.

What does doom mean here?

Etan Wexler.
Received on Friday, 1 July 2005 22:52:10 UTC

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