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comments on CSS3 Selectors from XSL Working Group

From: C. M. Sperberg-McQueen <cmsmcq@acm.org>
Date: 26 Jan 2006 15:28:18 -0700
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-Id: <1138314498.2931.6.camel@localhost>

Dear colleagues,

On behalf of the XSL Working Group I am transmitting to you the
comments found below on the last-call version of

-C. M. Sperberg-McQueen
 staff contact, XSL Working Group


Dear CSS WG,

The XSL WG noted with interest your recent publication of several
Last Call Working Drafts.  We appreciate that you agreed to
accept our comments after your closing date.

We note with great concern your publication of "Selectors"[1].
You may recall that when you originally proposed to publish this
document with the title "W3C Selectors" back in 2001, the XSL WG
had concerns about that title. Our concerns were alleviated by
your decision to publish the document at that time with the title
"CSS3 module: W3C Selectors".

However, your decision to use simply "Selectors" as the title in
the most recent publication causes us concern once again and we
wonder why you would think that is is more acceptable now when it
was not acceptable previously. As you are all aware, the CSS
selector mechanism is not the only means by which parts of an XML
document may be selected. XPath and XPointer both offer
functionality that falls under the general description of
"selection" as do several functions in the DOM, to name but a few
of the other selection mechanisms available to users.

We must therefore once again[2] urgently request that the
document be titled "CSS Selectors" and not simply "Selectors" or
the equally misleading "W3C Selectors". It is simply too
confusing to label any one of the various mechanisms with the
undistinguished title "Selectors"

We would also like to draw your attention to the opening
paragraph of the abstract in that draft. It says, in part:

   Selectors have been optimized for use with HTML and XML, and
   are designed to be usable in performance-critical code.

We object to the characterization expressed in the above
sentence. It could be construed as implying that CSS selectors
are somehow superior to all other forms of selection in terms of
performance.  There is nothing in the specification to support
this claim.  It appears to have been added solely for effect.
Please remove.

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/WD-css3-selectors-20051215/
[2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Member/w3c-css-wg/2001AprJun/0196.html
Received on Thursday, 26 January 2006 22:30:29 UTC

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