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

Re: Applying SVG properties to non-SVG content

From: Bert Bos <bert@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2008 22:58:16 +0200
Message-ID: <487E60E8.7020802@w3.org>
To: www-svg <www-svg@w3.org>, "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>

James Elmore wrote:
> On Jul 16, 2008, at 5:12 AM, Bert Bos wrote:

> I have a slightly different take on this discussion. For me, this is not 
> about what SVG can do or what HTML can do; it is about what CSS SHOULD do.
> CSS is about styling -- which includes all the things Doug listed above, 
> certainly. It also includes things like clipping and providing 
> background images and colors. It should also include transforms and 
> repeats and masking and -- yes -- gradients. These all have to do with 
> the STYLE of a document.

CSS is indeed for styling. But not all styling is done with CSS. Part of 
the style is in the images, in the words you use or in the order of the 
paragraphs; maybe even in the fact that you use words as all, rather 
than a video. Moreover, CSS is a language with certain strengths and 
weaknesses and it is designed for certain kinds of documents and certain 
users. It's not for nothing that W3C also has, e.g., XSL, PNG, SPARQL, 
XQuery and SVG. Some things are not needed in all cases, are easier done 
without CSS, or are just as often needed in contexts where there is no 
CSS. Gradients, e.g., are much more common for images than for text, and 
are therefore in SVG, not CSS.

> I think of CSS as a STYLING language and want to consider styles of all 
> sorts. So what if some of the styles are irrelevant to on-line displays? 
> So what if pixel-level controls are unneeded within a browser? So what 
> if SVG already allows users to do something which is clearly a STYLING 
> issue.

I don't have the ambition to make CSS the ultimate styling language. 
There are certainly features still to add that fit better in CSS than in 
other formats, but the primary purpose is to improve the semantic Web, 
which, in my mind, is done better by allowing widespread use of CSS than 
by making CSS the system that theoretically solves all problems, but is 
in practice not implemented and not usable.

> Gentlemen and Ladies -- do not limit CSS by keeping it tied to a 1995 
> model of the internet. Let us have freedom to style things undreamt in 
> the last century.

I agree with that. As an example, I believe that the transitions as 
recently proposed by Apple (animated style changes when an element 
enters or leaves a pseudo-class) can make hypertext a lot more readable. 
That is a kind of typography that didn't exist fifty years ago.

I also agree that HTML isn't the only text CSS should be able to style. 
In fact, I was the one who insisted on dropping "HTML" from the original 
name "Cascading HTML Style Sheets" back in 1994. Although that, again, 
doesn't mean that CSS should be able to style *all* kinds of text.

   Bert Bos                                ( W 3 C ) http://www.w3.org/
   http://www.w3.org/people/bos                               W3C/ERCIM
   bert@w3.org                             2004 Rt des Lucioles / BP 93
   +33 (0)4 92 38 76 92            06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France
Received on Wednesday, 16 July 2008 20:59:15 UTC

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