W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > September 2005

Re: Are there W3C definitions of presentation and content?

From: Laurens Holst <lholst@students.cs.uu.nl>
Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2005 15:07:28 +0200
Message-ID: <4333FE10.9070600@students.cs.uu.nl>
To: www-style@w3.org

White Lynx schreef:
>> Indeed. One of the nice things of CSS is that it can be ignored.
> Try to format XML documents with CSS.You simply can't  ignore CSS when
> it is used to define layout, unless all elements are inline and no formatting is necessary.

No, the meaning of the XML doesn’t change without CSS.

In your case, the XML format *depends* on CSS to display the 
information. That is however not necessarily the case - it is not for 
XHTML, and neither will the absence of CSS prevent your website from 
using the XML you mentioned as a data source for a template.

If you do not want everything to be shown inline without formatting, 
your language should define a default styling, which must be included at 
all times (preferably in the user agent without possibility to disable 
it, like html.css).

> some want to create link to attached file
> attachment {link:attr(href);}
> It is the matter of presentation which way to go.

The attr() parameter in links can be debated about. Question is whether 
it should be in CSS (a presentation language) or something like XBL (a 
behavioural language). Although I have seen it work well using CSS 
(Prince and Opera), and there is certainly something to be said for ease 
of use, XBL might still be a better place for it and the only reason 
that CSS is used for it may be because XBL isn’t implemented in those 

But then again, one might say that :hover is behavioural as well... 
Where is the difference between presentation and behaviour? E.g. for 
print media, behaviour doesn’t make sense, and so neither do -o-link or 
:hover. For ‘semi-print’ media such as PDFs, -o-link does make sense (it 
is certainly a useful addition in Prince), but if you continue down that 
line, so does :hover, and everything that you can do with XBL.

Think about an XHTML document, if you take the CSS away it looks 
different but everything still works. If you specify links somewhere 
that specifically need to be added using link:, it means that there is 
no default browser use for it, and thus that it is most likely a 
nonstandard attribute not part of XHTML (ok, and there’s ‘cite’ too, but 
this is even valid for that case). And then, if you take away the CSS, 
you will not just lose some visual candy, but something structural like 
links, which used to be there, but are now gone.

All in all, I think my current opinion is that I’m fine with links in 
CSS as UA extensions, but I would rather not have it in the standard. 
Because as mentioned before, the XML then becomes *dependant* on CSS, 
while one of CSS its advantages is that it can be taken away without 
usability problems (in contrary to XBL).

Anyways, at some point in this discussion I recall I saw something 
mentioned like ‘link: "http://example.com";’, which is of course clearly 
wrong, as the link itself should be part of the content, not the 


Ushiko-san! Kimi wa doushite, Ushiko-san nan da!!
Received on Friday, 23 September 2005 13:05:35 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Monday, 2 May 2016 14:27:20 UTC