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

From: Chris Lilley <chris@w3.org>
Date: Fri, 16 Sep 2005 19:35:27 +0200
Message-ID: <71867641.20050916193527@w3.org>
To: Bert Bos <bert@w3.org>
Cc: www-style@w3.org

On Thursday, September 15, 2005, 8:11:38 PM, Bert wrote:

BB> 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.

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

Perhaps the source of the confusion is that CSS seems to use "level" in
the way that other specs use "version".

BB> We make new versions ("revisions" they are called in W3C) when we
BB> discover bugs.

Editions, I think the rest of W3C calls them

BB> Such bugs can be in the functionality or in the syntax. 
BB> Obviously, we can't promise that fixing a bug in the syntax will be 
BB> backwards-compatible. Indeed, the old syntax was wrong, so it is 
BB> impossible to be compatible with it.

BB> But making a new language isn't a revision. I don't see how a 
BB> specification for one language can forbid another language.

So one would hope.

BB>  (Unless we
BB> patented the idea of a language, maybe.)

Don't jest, I'm sure someone somewhere has.

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

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

Agreed, though I didn't ask it to.  So, to rephrase the question - the
above text seems to preclude any other syntax, such as an XML syntax,
for subsequent CSS levels. CSS level 7 could not use XML syntax, for
example. Is that a deliberate design decision or an oversight?




-- 
 Chris Lilley                    mailto:chris@w3.org
 Chair, W3C SVG Working Group
 W3C Graphics Activity Lead
 Co-Chair, W3C Hypertext CG
Received on Friday, 16 September 2005 17:35:40 GMT

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