Re: solutions)ntations of CSS for years to come (was RE: CSS multicolumn layout solutions)

From: Etan Wexler <>
Cc: <>, <>
Subject: solutions)ntations of CSS for years to come (was RE: CSS
multicolumn layout  solutions)
Date: Wed, Jan 23, 2002, 9:11 PM

> Christian Hujer wrote:
>> So why should I already use CSS3 features that only work in
>> [the dominant
>> browser], if even HTML4 and CSS2, Recommendations from
>> *1998*, do not work
>> in [the latest version of the dominant browser, circa 2001]?
> HTML 4 published as Recommendation prior to 1998 (1997-12-18).
>  But, hey, what's a difference of a few months at this point?

Neither HTML4 nor CSS2 would have exited "CR" had there been a CR period at
the time they were made "recommendations".

IMHO W3C "Recommendations" issued before the CR period was established
should have been immediately reverted to CR status in order to pass the
updated requirements of two or more interoperable implementations.  In lieu
of this, I personally consider those W3C docs to be in CR until such time
that strict CR exit criteria have been met.

> To answer the question, though, one should use CSS3 features,
> like the 'inline-block' value of 'display', because the features
> are useful.  What's more, CSS is constructed with attention
> to graceful degradation.  Combining declarations for
> CSS3-capable user agents with declarations for downlevel
> user agents, one can satisfy everybody.


> Nevertheless, it is irritating that certain resource-rich
> companies can't muster the development power to implement
> four-year-old specifications.  (Or five-year-old specifications; has
> *anybody* produced a CSS1-conformant user agent?)

It is interesting that you refer to four or five year old specifications but
apparently have a memory gap of the past two or three years.  IE5/Mac was
released almost two years ago with fully conformant HTML4 and CSS1[1], and
IE6/Windows was released in the past year as well with fully conformant CSS1
and DOM1.

I know it may be far more enjoyable to stay "irritated" as you say, but pick
something else to be irritated about rather than four year old
specifications that have been implemented by two year old implementations.

>> It is always the same with [this monopolistic software giant]:
>> New features everywhere, but no bug fixing,
>> no or no proper implementation of standards, no security and
>> no stability.
> Get used to it.  Robust software engineering often fails to deliver
> the payoff for the vendor.

Not true.  For example, IE/Mac marketshare (on the Mac) was about 20% before
the release of IE5/Mac.  Within six months, IE5/Mac (the first browser to
fully comply with HTML4+CSS1+DOM1HTML+PNG1) share on the Mac had reached
nearly 70% (on the Mac) - and this was through _downloads_alone_ (i.e. _not_
through bundling).  This example alone blows a big hole in all the
ridiculous bundling arguments.

> CSS, in particular, is an area that vendors will be slow to
> implement conformantly.

Again - there is that memory loss of the past two years or so.  I count at
least five reasonably solid CSS implementations on a plethora of platforms:
  Konqueror (haven't verified, but have heard good things about it from
folks I respect)

> Ambiguities and contradictions within
> the specifications,

Now that is true - CSS2 as published in 1998[2] has problems, and we (W3C
CSS wg) have strived to resolve/fix them in the errata document[3].

If you know of any ambiguities or contradictions which are not addressed by
the CSS2 errata, please post specific problems to






Received on Thursday, 24 January 2002 15:18:44 UTC