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RE: Positioning HTML Elements with Cascading Style Sheets



>On Sat, 1 Feb 1997, Todd Fahrner wrote:
>> I may be wasting my time, what with Netscape's J-ESS (or JASS or JSSS or
>> whatever) and Microsoft's Trident headed for public beta. The former of
>> these technologies especially demonstrates that if you're comfortable with
>> Javascript, you can bypass CSS altogether. I fear that the programmers who
>> are bringing us script-based solutions to style (J*SS, CSSOM, even DSSSL)
>> have been conditioned by their education to deprecate the declarative,
>> procedural nature of CSS in favor of Turing-complete approaches. Yet if the
>> popularity of <I> over <EM> is any indication, authors are *more
>> comfortable* with declarative, procedural systems than more abstract ones,
>> however powerful.
>
>Todd-
>	As co-author of Microsoft's Cascading Style Sheets Object Model (CSSOM)
>proposal, as well as primary "stylesheets guy" on the Trident team, I'd like
>to assure you that deprecating CSS is the *LAST* thing on our minds.  CSSOM
>was designed/is maintained as an automation interface into the CSS model
>itself, not a separate model of how stylesheets should work.  In fact, you'll
>note the CSSOM refers explicitly to the CSS specification, and uses it as a
>normative reference - in fact, the entire model of CSSOM is based on CSS; we
>were really only trying to define a syntax, not a new model.
>	Personally, I think the notion of attempting to deprecate a simple
>declarative stylesheet language in favor of programmatic approaches is
>foolish.  The idea behind CSSOM is not that people would use it INSTEAD of
>CSS, like (I believe) JSS/JESS/JASS is intended.  Instead, the uses of CSSOM
>are to provide dynamic control of stylesheets in Web applications, to allow
>you to do things like (very basic examples) providing UI feedback by
>highlighting text when the mouse cursor is moved over a hot spot (hyperlink
>or scripted item).  CSSOM allows this (in fact, that part is already
>implemented in the soon-to-come first beta of Internet Explorer 4.0), as well
>as querying and setting stylesheet rules for the entire document (make all
>second-level list items disappear, for example, when a button is clicked).
>CSSOM is designed to interact (in fact, it is one with) the CSS-syntax
>stylesheets in a document.
>	At any rate, CSS as a simple, declarative syntax is and (IMO) will continue
>to be extremely useful in authoring styled Web pages.  Its simplicity is a
>powerful strength.  I agree completely with your statement about authors
>being more comfortable with declarative systems than abstract ones - the
>CSSOM is an attempt to provide the level of automation and abstraction that
>will be necessary for dynamic web experiences, not an attempt to usurp the
>declarative applications.  I personally use both in the pages I author.
>
>	-Chris
>Chris Wilson
>Software Design Engineer, Trident/IE4 Team
>cwilso@microsoft.com
>