W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > March 1998

Re: Suggestion for Attribute Selectors (and answer to Q[lang] problem)

From: Ian Hickson <exxieh@bath.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 9 Mar 1998 22:46:18 -0000
Message-ID: <00d201bd4bb1$a9cfbba0$ce20268a@hpxu>
To: Chris Lilley <chris@w3.org>
Cc: Bert Bos <Bert.Bos@sophia.inria.fr>, www-style@w3.org
<snip big conversation>

Chris Lilley wrote:
>Yes. I appreciate that from your perspective you made a suggestion, it
>was rejected then a similar one was accepted. I hope you dont feel
Well.. maybe just a bit :-)

My point is, why have all these different ways of matching attributes? We
can now (CSS2WD) match any attribute by either presence, exact value match,
space delimited value match, or (but only for the "lang" attribute) by an
exact match of the beginning. Four methods, four different specific results,
and no general purpose system.

It would be much better to have one much more comprehensive syntax based on
a regular expression model.
The advantages are actually numerous:
 * Regular expressions have been in use for *years*, so the technology is
mature (i.e. can be efficient).
 * They are commonly used in many applications, so the learning curve for
both implementors and users is shallow.
 * A single, comprehensive and self-consistent regular expression scheme
would actually do more for clarity than adding more and more attribute
selectors in future specs.

If you, the working group, really wanted to it is still possible to change
the draft to use this. Yes, it requires more work now. But it will be worth
it. I once read that a truly great utility was one which was used for a
purpose never dreamed of by the designer - the way the spec is now this is
not likely to happen with attribute selectors.

>> BTW, you only rarely get more than two levels of quoting, if you had any
>> more the quote would be so long as to no longer warrant being in-line.
> True, but there still needs to be defined behaviour to cope with the
> rare case.
Bert's example didn't show what this defined behaviour was, but I assume it
had the same effect as my example, which didn't use any of the "quotes"
properties, nor the open-quote thing, nor the (IMHO silly) [lang|=fr]

Sorry if this sounds harsh, I'm just trying to help make the web a better
place :-)...

Ian Hickson
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Received on Monday, 9 March 1998 18:17:45 UTC

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