W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > March 2011

Re: CSS Mixins proposal

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Mar 2011 10:12:55 -0700
Message-ID: <AANLkTik4bD7KkPAQXYTGvDNLykA-7Ts0gGcbHnwWP=ft@mail.gmail.com>
To: Sylvain Galineau <sylvaing@microsoft.com>
Cc: Alan Gresley <alan@css-class.com>, www-style list <www-style@w3.org>, Shane Stephens <shans@google.com>, Nathan Weizenbaum <nweiz@google.com>, Chris Eppstein <chris@eppsteins.net>
On Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 9:46 AM, Sylvain Galineau
<sylvaing@microsoft.com> wrote:
> [Tab Atkins:]
>> IE7 is now two versions obsolete, and over 5 years old.  That's
>> *forever* in web years.  In 2006 Firefox was still on version 2, Opera had
>> just released 9, and Chrome hadn't even been started yet.  It is
>> completely a non-goal for me personally, and I believe the WG generally,
>> to hobble CSS due to the buggy parsing of an obsolete and fading browser.
> IE6 is 10 years old; when it came out Firefox, Chrome and Safari didn't
> exist. Neither did Ubuntu. But if you don't test for it in China, you're
> going to miss a lot of people. IE7 is certainly still out there in numbers.
> (Although, thankfully, it doesn't seem to have acquired IE6's stickiness)
> Now, I don't think anyone is suggesting to design features *for* those
> browsers but the number of authors who have to deal with them is still large
> enough that a feature that fails badly on older platforms may end up being
> either avoided or require significant benefits to justify the expense of
> deploying it. It's one thing to tell readers of your personal blog to upgrade
> already and too bad if they don't. It's another entirely to say so to a customer
> who wants to give you money, or to an entire government agency. So if there *is*
> a way to minimize the damage and allow the feature to be used broadly without
> making the lives of users and authors harder, I don't think it should be
> considered a non-goal. You can't both argue that specs ought to reflect the
> real world - which they should - and then ignore the latter when it makes your
> life as an editor easier.
> Users, over authors, over implementors etc. Right ?
> So the argument shouldn't be 'This thing is so old it shouldn't be out there anymore
> so I won't care that it actually still is', it should be 'I don't care because the change
> required to accommodate this older browser will make authors' life harder and/or will make
> it harder to implement/maintain/extend the feature for the following reasons'.

I agree; I didn't mean to imply anything other than what you are
saying here.  In particular, I object to using an obsolete browser as
a reason to block a new feature entirely; by similar reasoning,
Flexbox and Grid Layout are bad, because no current browser supports
them, and a page authored to take advantage of them (particularly Grid
Layout) can end up pretty badly styled in a browser that doesn't
understand them (it's easy to author such that your page looks fine
both with Grid and totally unstyled; hitting that middle target of
some-styling-but-no-Grid will be much more difficult).

> Fwiw, Google Maps and Gmail support IE7. What would they make of a new CSS feature that
> makes writing CSS easier but breaks those clients ?

They both can and do discriminate based on user-agent and send down
different code depending; they'd either use that ability to serve the
good stuff to modern clients, or just avoid the feature until the
downlevel clients faded away sufficiently to be ignorable.

I don't expect a feature like this, which is primarily for authoring
convenience and code simplification, to see significant usage in
large-scale production for several years.  It needs significant
browser-share before it's useful to use in production, since adding
fallback defeats the purpose of using it in the first place; I do
expect, however, a limited-functionality version to be usable from
server-side CSS compilers in the near future (we've written one
ourself to play with the features, and SASS expects to pick up
whatever syntax the CSSWG agrees on).

Received on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 17:13:56 UTC

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