W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > April 2008

Re: [CSSWG] action 38, CSS Variables

From: Daniel Glazman <daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>
Date: Wed, 09 Apr 2008 12:43:45 +0200
Message-ID: <47FC9DE1.4050203@disruptive-innovations.com>
To: "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>

Bert Bos wrote:

> The smaller CSS is, the better. A smaller CSS is easier to learn, easier 
> to implement and has a better chance of being interoperable.

A smaller CSS ? Uh ? We have more than 40 modules in CSS 3.
CSS 3 Text is 32 A4 pages. The Basic Box Model is 59 pages.
Generated Content for Paged Media is 40 pages. And in terms
of complexity, CSS is certainly not on the downhill.

CSS 2.1 itself is *405* pages... And with those 405 pages,
we're still unable to position or size an element relatively to
any another one in the flow, even a sibling, something that would
DRASTICALLY help web designers ; we're still unable to add 10px to 50% ;
we still don't have a flexing box model, and that's a major pain for
web designers designing webapps more than websites.

> If some feature can be done outside of CSS, especially a feature that is 
> useful for other technologies than CSS, then is it should be done 
> outside of CSS. Modularity avoids implementing things twice, allows 
> parallel developments and re-use.
> 
> Indirection is bad, because too few people understand it. Half the 
> people don't understand that EM refers to a style rule in a different 
> file and that that style rule makes the text italic. Every further 
> indirection we add halves our audience.

Most web authors don't really understand the cascade, and there's not a
single week in the year w/o someone pinging me about specificity.
In terms of WYSIWYG^H^H^H^H^H^H^HDirect Manipulation editing, the
cascade is a pain most people can't imagine. CSS is so painful for
HTML-based email that the issues there have been standing for more than
ten years. Care to explain how that does NOT halve our audience ?

> Variables in CSS are wrong for the above three reasons. They make the 

Then the vast majority of web authors are wrong, if I look at the
feedback we received in this mailing-list first, on my blog second, and
finally by private email... I'll summarize them all here later.

Bert, you have to accept that (1) you are not a web designer that fights
on a daily basis with site management or corporate image (2) we don't
write CSS only for the beauty of CSS itself, we write it to be USEFUL to
our users. If we don't address the very basic needs our users started
asking for ten years ago, what's our relevance ? Is purity a goal in
itself ? I was actioned by the CSS WG to make a proposal and ask the
web designer's community if that proposal helps.
I did it, and the feedback is very positive so far. There are a few
technical issues, but that's normal, hey it's a proposal!
On another hand, if you have a counter-proposal, I'm sure everyone will
be more than happy to read it.

To be even clearer, the WHAT-WG exists because the XHTML2 WG did not
address web authors' and browser vendors' expectations. Not the kind
of fate I wish for the CSS WG...

> language bigger and more difficult to learn, they make other people's 
> style sheets more difficult to understand and re-use. They can instead 
> be done with a generic macro processor and would then be useful for 
> other languages, too (HTML, SVG, Javascript, Atom, etc.). They introduce 
> extra indirections.

Let's get rid of XML entities.

> Computer scientists love indirections, they believe all problems can be 
> solved with them, but normal people hate them. Programmers program their 
> video recorders, normal people prefer to press the Record button at the 
> right moment. Programmers use text editors, normal people use Direct 
> Manipulation interfaces (what's often incorrectly referred to as WYSIWYG).

ROTFL !!! Oh my, thanks for the good laugh !!!!
Next time I give a talk about Nvu or Composer - that's next monday -
I'll say "Direct Manipulation Editor" . I bet a box of cookies the
reaction will be "uuuuh ?" :-)

Bert, I think you missed one or two technical revolutions... So many 
people use a set top box (think freebox or livebox in France, tivo in
the US), display the TV guide, select an entry and press the "record it
for me please" button. I am a very average TV user, and I record on the
fly FAR less than I program my freebox to record things I miss while at
work or during the night, or while I'm watching another program, because
it's really trivial to program my freebox.

</Daniel>
Received on Wednesday, 9 April 2008 10:44:24 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Monday, 27 April 2009 13:55:05 GMT