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Re: A List Apart: Articles: Prefix or Posthack

From: Eric A. Meyer <eric@meyerweb.com>
Date: Fri, 9 Jul 2010 09:50:53 -0400
Message-Id: <a0623091bc85cd74d7eef@[]>
To: www-style@w3.org
At 8:34 PM -0700 7/8/10, Boris Zbarsky wrote:
>On 7/8/10 7:41 PM, Eric A. Meyer wrote:
>>  I know you're asking Richard, but I'll step in and ask why it costs more
>>  than a little to do, in effect, this:
>>  if (property == '-moz-box-shadow' || property == 'box-shadow') boxShadow();
>If that's all you want, I'm not sure why you want it; see below.
>In any case, it looks like we had some infrastructure for this sort 
>of aliasing added in 
>https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=93156 but it was 
>removed in https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=458588
>Note that this was an alias, not the sort of thing that webkit and 
>IE do (where the prefixed property continues to behave differently 
>from the unprefixed one if it did so to start with).

    Well, that shouldn't happen either, at least in the ideal case 
(from my point of view).  As I have understood it, and as I think 
most authors who've done any work with prefixes have understood it, 
prefixed properties are 'in progress' and may change.  Once the 
changes are finished, they eventually become the same as the 
unprefixed property.  That's the assumed tradeoff:  that there may be 
changes of behavior as the kinks are worked out, and then once that's 
all done the unprefixed property is supported alongside the prefixed. 
That the two are merged, in effect.
    I do not have the sense that people think that prefixed properties 
will just cease to be supported.  If that becomes the default, even 
for one major browser family like Gecko, then there will be a lot 
more reluctance to use vendor prefixes.  And as I've said, I think 
that's a bad thing.  The more people who use or at least mess around 
with prefixed properties, the more likely it is that someone will 
find interoperability or specification problems that need to be fixed.

>>  As it is, your choice to drop prefixed-property support is hostile to
>>  authors
>Why is it more hostile than having the alias would be?  Any use case 
>that's covered by having aliases with behavior identical to the 
>unprefixed property in the browser is covered by the author doing, 
>for your example above:
>   -moz-box-shadow: ...;
>   box-shadow: ...;
>as far as I can tell.  Am I missing something?

    Actually, no, that's fine.  But there may be cases where the 
unprefixed property is not listed, and just dropping the prefix 
support will cause problems in those cases.  Plus there's the point I 
mentioned above about authorial expectations.
    Perhaps the solution is a major push to change expectations, but 
my concern is that even that will push many people away from 
experimenting (because "they're just going to kill this later") and 
thus rob us of much-needed eyeballs.

Eric A. Meyer (eric@meyerweb.com)     http://meyerweb.com/
Received on Friday, 9 July 2010 14:00:07 UTC

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