W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-svg@w3.org > February 2007

Re: specificity, user style sheets and SVG

From: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>
Date: Fri, 09 Feb 2007 15:17:51 -0600
Message-ID: <45CCE4FF.5040703@mit.edu>
To: Jonathan Chetwynd <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>
CC: www-style@w3.org, SVG List <www-svg@w3.org>

This is going to be my last post in this thread, for what it's worth.  I 
don't think it's going anywhere, and I think facts are being 
misrepresented to make vague philosophical points more compelling than 
they really are.

Jonathan Chetwynd wrote:
> Well it did work in Safari Webkit :-) but I was saving that....

Because it would detract from your contention that there is a problem 
with user stylesheets per se?  ;)

> I'm really more concerned with user testing before standards are released.

This is probably the wrong forum for that; you should be contacting the 
folks who set up the W3C process.

> perhaps you can point me to some user testing that backed the decisions 
> arrived at?

The only decisions arrived at pertinent to this discussion that I can 
see were:

1)  There should be user stylesheets
2)  It should be possible for user stylesheets to override author style
     sheets.

Note that nowhere is there anything preventing UAs from coming up with 
other mechanisms to override author style sheets, nor from submitting 
such mechanisms for standardization if necessary.

> User style sheets never really caught on, but why is that?

In my opinion, a number of reasons:

1)  Writing style sheets is hard.  Doing it if you don't know what
     you'll be styling is _really_ hard; see item 4.
2)  A number of UAs have no user stylesheet support.
3)  A number of UAs have very non-discoverable user stylesheet support.
4)  Very few UAs offer the ability to have per-site user style sheets
     (whatever per-site means, and so forth).

So for the average user it's hard to find out how to go about setting up 
a user stylesheet in their UA, if it's possible at all.  If they get 
over that hurdle, it's hard to create a stylesheet that does what they want.

-Boris
Received on Friday, 9 February 2007 21:18:11 GMT

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