RE: An alternative strategy

>Jon Bosak <> wrote:
>>I will stick my neck out here and predict that when Netscape and
>>Microsoft realize that everyone who really counts is getting by with
>>standardized embedded style attributes, they never will get around to
>>implementing CSS stylesheets, or will implement as little of the
>>standard as they can get away with -- leaving out the
>>context-sensitive selectors, for example.

Um, Jon, weren't you watching at the ERB meeting?  Microsoft Internet
Explorer already *HAS* CSS stylesheets implemented (partially) -
particularly, the stylesheet declaration, cascading order and rule
matching, (*including* context-sensitivity!) are fully functional.  They
do turn out to be quite handy, actually - I can make rules for things
like description lists that end up looking very attractive in a
CSS-capable browser, and still work well in a downlevel browser.  These
rules only take up a few short lines, regardless of the number of items
or length of text; that's not true if you use only embedded style
attributes, and the content also ends up much larger with embedded
attributes only.
>>So here's my thought.  Why not recognize the way that this is shaping
>>up and say that we will concentrate on HTML with standardized STYLE
>>attributes (per CSS) for the short term and plan as an industry on
>>generic SGML with DSSSL stylesheets for the long term?  Isn't this a
>>simpler, more efficient, and basically more believable strategy than
>>putting a lot of effort into the implemention of limited solutions
>>that relatively few people will use while stealing resources from the
>>implementation of admittedly more difficult solutions that will work
>>over the long run?

In my experience as a CSS implementor, the rule matching isn't the hard
part, and in the long run, the work necessary for the rule matching
(specifically, maintaining a representation of the document structure)
will be necessary to support higher-end solutions anyway (so it's not
throw-away work).

It is my personal belief that at some point the demand for more flexible
style solutions (like DSSSL) will require that they be implemented to
satisfy a sector of the market.  Programmability will be important for
this sector.  However, I don't believe that this is purely a superset of
the users who will use CSS;  I believe most users need a reasonable
amount of control over the obvious stylistic presentation parameters of
their pages.  I'm not willing to sacrifice this medium-range goal for
the long-term programmability, especially when I don't thoroughly
believe that DSSSL is a good solution for those who hand-author their
documents (a very large set of people today).

>	-Chris
>Chris Wilson

Received on Tuesday, 30 April 1996 11:53:01 UTC