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Re: [css3-multicol] new editor's draft

From: Anton Prowse <prowse@moonhenge.net>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2010 19:43:13 +0200
Message-ID: <4CC1CD31.6010800@moonhenge.net>
To: www-style@w3.org
CC: shelby@coolpage.com, Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@opera.com>
On 22/10/2010 14:43, Shelby Moore wrote:
> I also in general find the CSS specs to be very hard to understand
> quickly, because there are no diagrams in the introductory sections, e.g.
> Section 2.  The specs introductions contain many new technical terms which
> I can't see in my head quickly.  I find words very difficult to parse. I
> parse pictures much faster, and actually this is proven to be true for
> most people.

I fully agree that there should be more diagrams in CSS specs in general 
(provided that the diagrams are well thought out and are not used to 
define behaviour but merely to illustrate it).

However, technical specifications require formal language, and it's not 
a necessary requirement that they be quick to assimilate.  (As with 
academic papers, it takes expertise and experience to be able to process 
them rapidly.)  However, it /is/ a necessary requirement that they be 
accurate and comprehensively deal with the topic at hand, and that the 
necessary definitions, axioms and conceptual underpinnings be presented. 
  Often the CSS specs are difficult to understand because of failure to 
adhere to that latter point.

That's not to say that specs shouldn't be reader-friendly.  But it takes 
significant extra skill and time to make a spec reader-friendly whilst 
preserving the accuracy, and so unfortunately it often seems not to be a 

Anton Prowse
Received on Friday, 22 October 2010 17:44:16 UTC

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