W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > January 2014

Re: CSS priorities

From: Jens O. Meiert <jens@meiert.com>
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2014 10:51:10 -0300
Message-ID: <CAJ0g8QTEQ24dEFvE==FjyLh6Xt+CV=2zj=Nis+wbPTX0yJTVBQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: Brian Kardell <bkardell@gmail.com>
Cc: W3C WWW Style <www-style@w3.org>
> The comparison there, to be fair is a little misleading.  CSS 1 was, well,
> not very much - CSS 2 happened REALLY fast. […] I agree with
> the basic sentiment but let's be sure to keep that part in perspective too.

Fair point, though I think it’s also important to note that complexity
doesn’t grow linearly here, but exponentially. CSS is not “six times”
more complex now than ten years ago (despite six times as many
properties), but, who knows, twenty, or fifty times?

I think that already led us into a downward spiral. To compensate for
CSS complexity we appear to add even more to it. “Make this easier,
and that.”

And, every added feature seems to justify the next. “We added this,
why don’t we…”

This means no offense to anyone, just genuine concern. I’ve years ago
warned about neglecting the side of *optimizing* CSS use. For half a
decade now it’s clear that something very basic like using every
declaration just once is reducing actual style sheet complexity (and
need for constants!). I find that troubling. There may be other
low-hanging fruits to pick for us, as developers. A working group that
keeps on churning out feature after feature is not helping with that.
I think holding on for a minute would not mean stagnation but could be
healthy for us.

> To be fair though, of the CSS 3 properties added, how difficult would it
> be for you to make a list of the ones you wish we would have punted
> on for now?

Given what just came up with regards to the word-wrap/overflow-wrap
1-in-2 property, would that realistically help?

I’ve always been fond of the WHATWG HTML process back then, to see
what *the majority* of authors are actually *doing*. I think CSS would
benefit from a similar approach, with the added check of whether
there’s another way to do something already, whether in CSS or,
legitimately, with something else. We don’t need eight ways to do
layout, or do something in CSS that a scripting language can do.

Apart from that, I do think we need to take concrete steps against
spec fragmentation. I know Tab and others are *aware* of this, but we
keep on bumping into it. It might help with feature creep too—what we
are starting to see is redundancy that *may* just come from
uncertainty who is doing something where. But I’m beginning to guess

Jens O. Meiert
Received on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 13:51:57 UTC

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