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Re: [selectors4][css-syntax] Pseudo-elements vs. combinators

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2014 21:46:01 -0800
Message-ID: <CAAWBYDDh8zh9L68R+w3wNEU-eNQvvyYV6L2wW2iSahHOQbDTeQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: Sylvain Galineau <galineau@adobe.com>
Cc: "<www-style@w3.org>" <www-style@w3.org>
On Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 7:55 PM, Sylvain Galineau <galineau@adobe.com> wrote:
> A recurring debate in the WG - both last week in Seattle and at previous meetings - pitted new combinators vs. pseudo-elements. The former are generally deemed too cryptic as well as unsustainable: there are only so many non-alphanumeric characters left on our keyboard, yet enough of them that adding more just makes things more confusing. As a result, I have heard a few times: "We should stop adding combinators and use pseudo-elements instead".
> That seems a little odd to me, as it means hacking the pseudo-element syntax for the purpose of describing things that aren't really pseudo-elements i.e. it feels like solving one problem by creating another different one. While one or two combinator characters may be hard to read or remember, what comes after a combinator is generally well-understood and unconstrained by pseudo-element syntax. It also deals with the concern that having things that look like pseudo-elements but aren't is just moving confusion around.
> One suggestion would be to allow future combinators to be mnemonics or even words; we'd presumably need to agree on a common prefix for them to disambiguate them for elements.
> So just like
> ::<name> indicates a pseudo-element,
> :<name> indicates a pseudo-class,
> we'd have
> <combinator-prefix><name> indicate a combinator.
> The bikeshedding, of course, resides in choosing <combinator-prefix>. But before even getting there, I was wondering what'd be daft about this?

I agree that pseudo-elements are a weird syntax for this.  The way
they're used today, it's the :: that's the "combinator", and it
selects into the "pseudo-tree", where the <before>, <after>, etc
elements live.  Except that the syntax isn't quite consistent with the
other combinators, because of the weird syntax requirements.

How about using ^?

Note that this does end up with a syntax requirement of putting a
space after the combinator.  This isn't completely without precedent -
the descendant combinator *is* a space - but it is slightly different
from today's world where all the combinators are non-alphanums.

Received on Wednesday, 5 February 2014 05:46:48 UTC

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