Re: CSS and XSL

Subject: Re: CSS and XSL
From: Paul Prescod <paul@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 10:18:33 -0600
(deep breath. again. okay)

Rather than move to another mailing list I'll just promise to make this my
last post on the subject. I may bring it up on the SVG mailing list when
and if that gets rolling.

I've already deleted a point-by-point rebuttal to your various
accusations. I decided everybody here knows me and it is clear that you've
described the situation to a tee: I'm a utopian, I'm trying to make life
harder for everyone, I know nothing about CSS and have never used it, I
have no right to gripe and it isn't useful anyhow. I also torture puppies.

There, now that we agree on all of that stuff we can hone in on the parts
of your post that seemed to have technical or at least sociological
content. I'm trying to understand the basis of your concern.

"Simon St.Laurent" wrote:
> Sociological (and even political) issues do matter, very much.  Technical
> utopians who ignore them do so at their peril.

My experience has been that the sociological factors vanish relatively
quickly but we are stuck with the technical decisions for a LONG TIME. I
could point to hundreds of examples but you probably have your own

> On the other hand,
> keeping the style information in a single element makes it much easier to
> avoid the crunched-up disaster area that HTML documents were becoming when
> formatting was all over the markup.

Can you please back up your assertion that the problem with HTML's problem
was with the large number of attributes instead of with the fact that they
were being invented willy-nilly? What if vendors invented CSS properties
willy nilly?

Can you also please comment on your implied assertion that formatting
properties should be expressed in a *format-centric* language like SVG in
exactly the same way that they are expressed in a *structural markup
language* like HTML?

> Yes, and it's an argument that convinces people every day.  Check out
> "Lisp: Good News, Bad News, how to Win Big" at
>  Rather than griping about 'poor
> encoding', you might ask yourself why that encoding was chosen and what its
> advantages might be.

Could you enumerate those advantages?

> You might stop worrying about
> 'rich data' and 'elegant styling' and spend more time focusing on how to
> make things work without creating more headaches for large numbers of
> developers.

Can you describe how this proposal will create "more headaches for large
numbers of developers?" Who is using SVG? How would it inconvenience
anyone to use a different mapping from CSS into XML syntax for SVG?

> If change is going to come, it should come in response to the needs of
> people actually using CSS, not someone who's upset because the CSS models
> don't fit 'conventions' of proper behavior.

CSS can stay is it is. I have no problem with it. Users of it should
continue to use it as they have always used it.

SVG, XSL formatting objects and other format-centric languages must define
a mapping from the CSS property model into their syntax. I am complaining
not about CSS but about that mapping. Can you please argue how the
property-per-attribute mapping would make everyone's life so much harder?

 Paul Prescod  - ISOGEN Consulting Engineer speaking for only himself

If you spend any time administering Windows NT, you're far too familiar 
with the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) which displays the cause of the 
crash and gives some information about the state of the system when 
it crashed.  -- "Microsoft Developer Network Magazine"

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