W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > November 2016

Re: dynamic states and pseudo elements for inline styles

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Nov 2016 14:18:25 -0800
Message-ID: <CAAWBYDBmVhJd3937XmC6riu9r3PNXDU91cRc29SR1TVPShkNyg@mail.gmail.com>
To: James Kyle <me@thejameskyle.com>
Cc: www-style list <www-style@w3.org>
On Mon, Nov 7, 2016 at 10:52 AM, James Kyle <me@thejameskyle.com> wrote:
> Hello
>
> I would like to revive this draft from 2002, which adds the following syntax
> to style="...".
>
> <a href="http://www.w3.org/"
>           style="{color: #900}
>           :link {background: #ff0}
>           :visited {background: #fff}
>           :hover {outline: thin red solid}
>           :active {background: #00f}">...</a>
>
>
> This makes a lot of sense today due to a growing percentage of web
> developers writing styles inline rather than in separate stylesheets.
>
> - https://speakerdeck.com/vjeux/react-css-in-js
> - https://formidable.com/blog/2015/03/01/launching-radium/
> - https://docs.angularjs.org/api/ng/directive/ngStyle
> - https://github.com/smyte/jsxstyle
> - https://github.com/threepointone/glamor/blob/master/docs/createElement.md
>
> However, as you can see in some of those links there has been a lot of
> effort around making :states, ::pseudo elements, and @media queries work
> with inline styles.
>
> Most of these would be solved by that proposal (minus media queries - which
> are less of a concern)..
>
> Although I'd like to suggest the following changes:
>
> <a href="http://www.w3.org/"
>           style="color: #900;
>           :link {background: #ff0};
>           :visited {background: #fff};
>           :hover {outline: thin red solid};
>           :active {background: #00f};">...</a>
>
>
> - No curly { } braces around the existing inline styles - this prevents the
> browsers from rendering them today
> - A semicolon after { } blocks so that style="color: red; :hover {...};
> text-decoration: underline; works in browsers today.

I like most of this; I'll comment on some bits of it.

First, removing the {} from the plain styles is good. It means the
grammar is just an extension of the previous style='' grammar, making
it easier to learn and to adapt existing code into.  Now, *in
general*, we can't intermix declarations and style blocks, as they're
grammatically ambiguous, but if we limit the selectors to solely being
pseudoclasses (which makes sense - all the other selectors are just
DOM qualities, which don't do anything useful when applying a style
directly to an element), we eliminate that ambiguity.  This is the
same thing that allows us to mix at-rules with declarations - the @ or
: characters can't appear at the start of a declaration, so we know
immediately what we're dealing with.

Second, adding the ; to the end of the style blocks is bad.  It makes
the style blocks gratuitously different from stylesheets, and for a
pretty weak reason - solely so that you can freely mix declaration and
blocks, and still have all the declarations recognized in legacy
browsers.  Recommending that authors just put their plain styles first
handles this just fine, *and* is a good idea anyway (it makes it
easier to read), and preserves the ordinary grammar of CSS
stylesheets.

I wouldn't mind helping to revive this idea.

~TJ
Received on Tuesday, 8 November 2016 22:19:18 UTC

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