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Re: [CSS21] Grammar precludes future XML syntax for CSS

From: Bert Bos <bert@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2005 20:11:38 +0200
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-Id: <200509152011.39329.bert@w3.org>

On Thursday 15 September 2005 14:54, Chris Lilley wrote:
> Hello www-style,
>
>
> http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/WD-CSS21-20050613/syndata.html#tokenization
> 4.1.1 Tokenization
>
>   All levels of CSS  level 1, level 2, and any future levels  use
> the same core syntax. This allows UAs to parse (though not completely
> understand) style sheets written in levels of CSS that didn't exist
> at the time the UAs were created.
>
> This would seem to have the side effect of forever precluding a
> different syntax for CSS, such as an XML grammar, in all future
> versions. Is this the intent? If so, please say so; if not, please
> clarify the document so that the intent is clearer.

I think you misread the sentence. The quoted text (with the following 
sections) only defines extensions. It says nothing about new versions, 
nor about new languages. It doesn't forbid either.

We make new versions ("revisions" they are called in W3C) when we 
discover bugs. Such bugs can be in the functionality or in the syntax. 
Obviously, we can't promise that fixing a bug in the syntax will be 
backwards-compatible. Indeed, the old syntax was wrong, so it is 
impossible to be compatible with it.

But making a new language isn't a revision. I don't see how a 
specification for one language can forbid another language. (Unless we 
patented the idea of a language, maybe.)

E.g., we could make a "binary CSS," maybe to go along with a 
hypothetical "binary XML." (Whether that is a good idea is another 
question.)

I think it is not the role of the CSS spec to speak out on that.



Bert
-- 
  Bert Bos                                ( W 3 C ) http://www.w3.org/
  http://www.w3.org/people/bos                               W3C/ERCIM
  bert@w3.org                             2004 Rt des Lucioles / BP 93
  +33 (0)4 92 38 76 92            06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France
Received on Thursday, 15 September 2005 18:13:13 GMT

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