W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > April 2010

Re: transitions vs. animations

From: Chris Marrin <cmarrin@apple.com>
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 2010 08:43:26 -0700
Cc: Brad Kemper <brad.kemper@gmail.com>, "www-style@w3.org list" <www-style@w3.org>
Message-id: <03ADF84A-202B-4282-97FD-51194B7C2765@apple.com>
To: Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@opera.com>

On Apr 9, 2010, at 1:42 PM, Håkon Wium Lie wrote:

> Brad Kemper wrote:
> 
>>> "transform" is much more than "move". It encompasses translation,  
>>> scale, rotate, skew, perspective, combinations of those and even a  
>>> few interesting transformations that can't be represented by those  
>>> primitives. As for "transform" being too close to "translation", I  
>>> don't share your confusion and I think it would be a mistake to  
>>> change the name to something less descriptive because they look a  
>>> bit close to you. Just look at them for a while, you'll get used to  
>>> it :-)
>> 
>> Sorry. I meant to say 'translate', not 'transform'. This probably  
>> proves a point of some kind.
> 
> It does. We see it all the time, even in the CSS WG meeting where
> people have been looking at this for a while.
> 
> I think transitions will be a big hit, they will change the web. We
> have the power to give it a likable name. The name we give it will
> aquire the meaning we want.
> 
> One example: "margin". In traditional typography, it wouldn't be
> accurate to refer to the "margin between paragraps" -- a margin is
> traditionally the space that surrounds the content of a page. Still,
> the term has worked well in CSS, and all elements have margins around
> them. I don't think people have been confused.
> 
> There are several good alternatives to 'transition':
> 
>   shift: left 1s;
>   change: left 1s; 
>   flux: left 1s;
>   phase: left 1s;
> 
> E.g., "CSS shifts" is a marketable term.

Translate, rotate, scale and skew all all very well accepted terms in graphics, with "transform" being the term that encompasses them all. It's what is used in SVG, Flash, OpenGL, the 2D Canvas API, and probably about a dozen other graphics API's. I don't think we should change such well-accepted terminology. 

The same can be said of 'transition'. It's a well-accepted term and I don't think the argument that it's too hard to spell is sufficient justification. Just look at the list of CSS properties. It is littered with words that are precise but not necessarily simple. I think there is a good argument to be made for CSS's typical choice of precision over simplicity. Any new terminology looks foreign at first. Once you get used to it, it becomes second nature.
Received on Tuesday, 13 April 2010 15:44:00 GMT

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