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Re: New layout language.

From: Orion Adrian <orion.adrian@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 6 Jul 2005 17:39:57 -0400
Message-ID: <abd6c80105070614392ee4e456@mail.gmail.com>
To: www-style@w3.org

On 7/6/05, Ben Curtis <bcurtis@bivia.com> wrote:
> 
> On Jul 6, 2005, at 12:12 PM, Orion Adrian wrote:
> 
> > Why are people so against the split?
> 
> I agree that formatting and layout should be split, because they are
> different tasks and sometimes done by different people, and they
> little affect the other. This is why I already split layout from
> formatting, using separate CSS documents composed during different
> development phases.
> 
> I suspect that people are resisting your proposal partly due to:
> 
> a) your effort to define a layout language is incomplete in that it
> does not cover broken or invalid rulesets, non-absolute positioning
> (e.g., a picture and its caption relating to a specific paragraph in
> an article), and the like; making it more complete will take a lot of
> effort and compromise and many people might suspect that in so doing
> your simplicity will get lost

I said I would talk about floats and attached positioning in a later
post. I never got to get to that point. I've already dealt with it in
the model. It doesn't add that much.

> b) you occasionally throw new ideas into the conversation that are
> massive in scope but little addressed -- for example, in your primer
> you talk about having the UA handle layout, and in a later email that
> each "page" is composed of many documents assembled on the client
> side (a la frames, or merely divs with a src value?), each of which
> radically change pretty near every business practice developers have.

Yes, they're little addressed, but people rarely focus on what could
be and rather would think about what is. I see this all the time.
Businesses die because they don't rethink their processes. For
example, I was working at this company that was spending thousands of
man hours per project. Someone had to come along and show them that
the entire approach could be changed. Was there resistance. Yes,
immense resistance. Yet the change would cut a process that took
thousands of hours into one that took less than one.

Refinement is what's comfortable. Overhaul is what changes the world.
Nobody likes overhaul. Odd isn't it? If you want me to address these
ideas, I will. But I doubt people will welcome them.

I was dealing with a collegue. We were talking about usability. The
website he was managing was in terrible disarray with the users
controlling everything. Also users would come to him all the time,
asking the same questions over and over again. He was loosing it
mentally.

I tried to talk to him and I would say, "This link should be changed;
we should reorganize this; we should make this consistent." His
response: "the users are stupid; it doesn't matter what we do, they'll
never get it. No amount of change will make the users stop asking
questions and being stupid." His scapegoat was the users.

I talked with him for awhile after that. I got him to finally admit
that the users weren't lost causes. He didn't even believe it deep
down. He just didn't like the idea of doing lots of work in order to
help them. He was having nightmares about all the political battles
and work that would ensue if he started making changes.

I get that feeling here too. Let's not make major changes. Sometimes
it's because we don't want to, sometimes it's because it would be made
moot by Microsoft. Microsoft is our scapegoat. So we just keep moving
on doing what we want to do and not what might be better but would be
hard. It's a harsh criticism I make, but I make it out of respect and
the desire that this body continue to serve the public as it has done
so for almost 10 years.

This is my religion. We must not have pride in the work we do here. We
must not become attached to that which we produce. We must strike down
our own invention with the same zeal that we strike down our enemies.
We cannot continue to assume that what is in front of us is our
greatest accomplishment. This is for reference, not for discussion.

> I think your position would be strengthened if you did not expend the
> energy to convince people, but rather went and did it -- make an
> implementation of what you are talking about. Let us see it. Because,
> in the end, if web designers no longer get to control layout, and
> content managers no longer govern the specific hierarchy of their
> page, then you are asking a *lot* of people to give up what is
> working well for them. Tim Berners-Lee and Marc Andreesen were not
> warmly welcomed with their ideas at first blush, but they convinced
> people by going out and doing it.
> 
> If your claims of simplicity are right, I'd love to see it.

I'll do what I can. I'm not as much of a programmer these days, but
I'll see what I can do.

-- 

Orion Adrian
Received on Wednesday, 6 July 2005 21:40:02 GMT

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