Re: CSS2 Progress

Developing a spec is a fine balance between describing what is
practical, and where we want the Web to go.

On the one hand the spec cannot be implemented until finalised; on the
other hand, we cannot specify something without being pretty sure that
it *can* actually be implemented.

Likewise, software makers want new features, but they also want a spec
that they can implement within a reasonable time after
publication. That sticker on the box that says "supports CSS2" is
important, and they rather have it 3 months after publication than 12.

Thus you will see experimental implementations of new features, and
they will occasionally prove to be different from the final
spec. Which is fine, as long as everybody is aware that the features
are just that: experimental. (I'm aware that marketing departments do
not always present things correctly, whether from ignorance or ill
will I can't say.)

Working Drafts are published to show what the working group is working
on, in order to get feedback. But their status is very clear: "drafts
may be updated, replaced or obsoleted at any time."

Some features take more time than others to work out. Sometimes that
is because they turn out to be more complex than expected, sometimes
because they have low priority (and the working group has limited
resources). Headers and footers fall in the first category: everybody
wants them, but all we know is that we want more than has been
proposed so far. How much more? That is still an open question.

At some point it becomes more important to publish a new spec, than to
wait for all the unfinished features to be worked out. There is no
other way for us to indicate that the other features are stable. It
doesn't matter in how many drafts it's been published, it is not safe
to implement until it is a W3C Recommendation.

Which means, unfortunately, that any unfinished work will remain
officially unfinished for about another year, but that can't be

Of course, any dropped features will soon reappear in new drafts after
CSS2 is done.

  Bert Bos                                ( W 3 C )                              W3C/INRIA                             2004 Rt des Lucioles / BP 93
  +33 (0)4 93 65 76 92            06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France

Received on Monday, 24 November 1997 15:44:16 UTC