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Re: 'initial' | 'inherit' inconsistency

From: Eric A. Meyer <eric@meyerweb.com>
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 2010 10:14:07 -0400
Message-Id: <a06230902c8f084703cdd@[]>
To: www-style@w3.org
At 12:20 AM -0700 10/29/10, fantasai wrote:

>I would prefer to have each CSS3 module add its own blanket statement
>the way CSS3 Backgrounds and Borders does [1], but not include the
>values in their property definitions. The grammar for many CSS3
>properties is already fairly complex: grouping the entire thing in
>an extra set of brackets in order to add "| inherit" just makes it
>more confusing.
>[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/css3-background/#values

    Actually it would be to add " | initial | inherit", but I 
understand your objection.  I disagree that doing as you suggest is a 
good idea, though.  It's all too easy to say, as a reader (whether 
you're a page author or an implementor), "Hmmm, what's the syntax of 
'animation-timing-function' again?  Let me Google.  Okay, here it 
is."  And there's no indication of 'initial' or 'inherit' as possible 
values.  Even if you heard one time that those values are supposed to 
be accepted by all properties and remember that fact, in the effort 
to understand the actual syntax of the property it's easy to let the 
"universal" keywords slip your mind.
    The blanket statement only works if everyone always reads modules 
sequentially from beginning to end.  I would bet that's a very, very 
small minority.  Plus, and here I speak from personal experience, 
it's very easy to miss the one-sentence blanket statement buried in 
the middle of the introductory text.  As Sylvain pointed out and I 
can also attest, missing the blanket statement is already happening, 
has happened, and will continue to happen.
    I agree-- oh, do I ever!-- that many properties' values are 
complex.  Adding two more keywords and, usually though not always, a 
pair of brackets is not going to significantly increase their 
complexity.  It will significantly increase their clarity in the 
sense that they will no longer hide one or two of the keywords they 

Eric A. Meyer (eric@meyerweb.com)     http://meyerweb.com/
Received on Friday, 29 October 2010 14:14:45 UTC

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