[csswg-drafts] Let’s Define CSS 4 (#4770)

jensimmons has just created a new issue for https://github.com/w3c/csswg-drafts:

== Let’s Define CSS 4 ==
It’s come up quite a few times recently that the world of people who make websites would greatly benefit from the CSS Working Group officially defining ”CSS 4”, and later “CSS 5“, etc. 

Chris Coyier [wrote](https://css-tricks.com/css4/): 
>CSS3, and perhaps to a larger degree, "HTML5", became (almost) household names. It was so successful, it's leaving us wanting to pull that lever again. It was successful on a ton of levels:
>• It pushed browser technology forward, particularly on technologies that had been stale for too long.
>• It got site owners to think, "hey maybe it's a good time to update our website."
>• It got educators to think, "hey maybe it's a good time to update our curriculums."
>• It was good for the web overall, good for websites taking advantage of it

Nicole Sullivan [wrote](https://twitter.com/stubbornella/status/1083768515524349952):
>Unpopular opinion: CSS and HTML need to increment their version numbers again so we can convince business to invest in these technologies. 😂
>Marketing isn't a dirty word, really! In fact I advocated incrementing version numbers *for that very reason*

PPK [wrote](https://www.quirksmode.org/blog/archives/2020/01/css4_is_here.html):
> I think that CSS would be greatly helped if we solemnly state that “CSS4 is here!” In this post I’ll try to convince you of my viewpoint.
>I am proposing that we web developers, supported by the W3C CSS WG, start saying “CSS4 is here!” and excitedly chatter about how it will hit the market any moment now and transform the practice of CSS.
>Of course “CSS4” has no technical meaning whatsoever. All current CSS specifications have their own specific versions ranging from 1 to 4, but CSS as a whole does not have a version, and it doesn’t need one, either.
>Regardless of what we say or do, CSS 4 will not hit the market and will not transform anything. It also does not describe any technical reality.
>Then why do it? For the marketing effect.

We do seem to agree that this is purely about “the marketing effect.” And for some, that’s a dismissive admission. They see that marketing is not core to defining or implementing technology. Some folks the CSSWG have argued this would take up a lot of time to figure out, and add little value to CSS itself. 

On the other hand, if web developers are hesitant to adopt new technology, defining and implementing it is wasted time. How Authors perceive change, and judge when is the best moment to invest time to learn new technology — this has a huge impact on adoption. 

”CSS3” was perceived as a singular thing, even if it was not. As Chris Coyier [writes](https://css-tricks.com/css4/), a tremendous number of books, courses, and conferences were dedicated to CSS3. The perceived label gave rise to business opportunities, and those business opportunities drove education. Education centered around a single concept — ”CSS has changed. There’s a new, important, finite, known set of things to learn. Now is the time to learn it. Here’s a resource.”

I see a lot of resistance to learning the CSS that came after CSS3. People are tired and overwhelmed. They feel like they’ll never learn it all, never catch up, so why try, or why try now? If the CSSWG can draw a line around the never-ending pile of new, and say ”Here, this. This part is ready. This part is done. This part is what you should take the time to learn. You can do this. It’s not infinite.” I believe that will help tremendously. 

Defining CSS4 purely for ”marketing”, to make the recently-shipped parts of CSS more approachable is definitely a different kind of thing than what the CSS Working Group has done before. It’s outside the culture of the group. It’ll require us to think a bit differently about what ”official” means, or why something is in or out of the list. This will be more subjective, more squishy.  But I believe the past shows us that this is something Authors need. CSS2, CSS3, HTML2, HTML3, HTML4, XHTML, HTML5 — these were things people grabbed onto. Just saying ”oh, there are no new versions anymore, it's just ongoing... the Living Standard, the Just Keep Up method...” — this isn't really working. 

I do not believe this is a project for anyone but the CSS Working Group. We are the only body with the power to say “This is CSS4. It’s official.” 

I believe this work should start with a conversation with Authors. It’s not something implementors or spec writers should lead. It’s work that starts with a community conversation:
• Would it help to officially define CSS4, and what’s in progress for CSS5?
• What goes into those two buckets?

I’m opening this issue so we can hear from web developers and designers their thoughts about this. We would be doing this for them, and not for browser engineers or the CSSWG process itself. 

Please view or discuss this issue at https://github.com/w3c/csswg-drafts/issues/4770 using your GitHub account

Received on Wednesday, 12 February 2020 16:56:16 UTC