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Re: [BULK] - Re: [XHTML2] Spirit of "1.1.3. XHTML 2 and Presentation" (PR#7759)

From: Paul Mitchell <paul@paul-mitchell.me.uk>
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2006 17:56:29 +0000
Message-ID: <43FCA5CD.6050000@paul-mitchell.me.uk>
To: "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>

David Woolley wrote:

>Probably because Netscape's original choice of name was too short sighted.
>It was basically yet another example of thinking form rather than function.
>
Now, THAT is an outragous thing to say, and precisely the reason I have 
a hard time on this list. This has to be my last word to this thread and 
I don't want a flame-fest (at least in public - feel free to flame me on 
my blog). I mean no offence, David, but I cannot let that statement 
stand without rebuttal.

Your apparent distaste for the words "style" and "script" does not mean 
that the words are inapt. They were perfectly chosen first time, both 
expressing their intended function and form correctly simultaneously, 
even when bare initially. As various forms of script (and style to some 
extent) evolved, the type attribute became necessary when expressing 
something uncommon, then accepted best practice in all cases.

Like any sensible person when faced with a word I don't understand, I 
asked Google to "define script", and among the computer-related noise on 
the first page were two workable definitions;
a) "The blueprint or roadmap that outlines a movie story through visual 
descriptions, actions of characters and their dialogue", and
b) "A group of commands usually stored in a file and run one at a time 
so that you don't have to type them in one at a time"

As this is explictly a computer-domain discussion, yet movies have 
already been mentioned elsewhere, I offer this as my definition of 
script, intended to be all-encompassing.

A "script" is an ordered sequence of written instructions that 
co-ordinates the actions of one or more things over time to create 
something other than itself and the things it instructs - a performance 
of some kind.

Computers only do performance, and there is no performance of anything 
on a computer without a script. You can sex up the name all you like, 
much to the chagrin of technical and the confusion of non-technical 
people, but when you get down to it, programming code is a script, no 
more, no less. The <script> tag perfectly describes its content, being 
always a sequence of programming instructions or a reference to same, 
and its function, which is to co-ordinate the browser and user for the 
time they spend working with the document.

There is no One True Script obvious from Google's front page (unless it 
it called "Tivoli"), so content type specification would appear to be 
more than a polite hint. My onward searches for "web script" and "html 
script" were fruitful as to names of script I might use.

Then, I asked Google to "define style", and again through the computery 
noise on the first page popped out the following two workable definitions;
a) "a particular kind (as to appearance); 'this style of shoe is in 
demand'" (1st)
b) Web Style Sheets <http://www.w3.org/Style/> at www.w3.org/Style/ (10th)

Onward searches for "web style" place the second definition 4th and 
"html style" makes it 1st.

Fashion has already been mentioned elsewhere, and the first definition 
is clearly a statement of fashion. But the importance, the monumental 
impact of the second defintion CANNOT be ignored. The word "style", on 
the web, means "W3C Style" and nothing else. The W3C is THE authority on 
fashion on the web, the One True Style, so by viture of that alone the 
<style> tag perfectly decribes its function (a statement of fashion for 
the current document) and its form (see W3C for details). The bare 
<style> tag still cannot be reasonably interpreted to mean anything 
other than "here comes some variety of CSS", which was its original 
intended purpose.

I cannot verify, nor care, whether Netscape came up with the element 
names or not, but someone did and they deserve respect and admiration, 
not bluff dismissal. Given my evidence, how you can argue that they were 
short-sighted or deficient of thinking in their choices? What would you 
have offered up at the design meeting? History shows that the the first 
person to say the word "style" set a world-wide standard, surely an 
achievment beyond the wildest dreams of all but the most enterprising of 
code nuts.

What's the name of this mailing list, again?
--
Paul Mitchell
www.paul-mitchell.me.uk

PS: For short-sightedness and bad thinking on the web, the "href" 
attribute gets my vote. What was wrong with "url" or even "uri"?
Received on Wednesday, 22 February 2006 17:57:12 GMT

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