Re: Seriffed and sans-serif fonts?
Sun, 23 Apr 1995 20:15:06 +0500

At the WWW conference in Darmstadt, there was a short session in the
Developer's Day about style sheets.

One thing that came out is that there may be situations where the author must
be able to override the user's style sheet preferences -- e.g. for legal
liability reasons.

Another is that people are actively working on DSSSL Lite, which is intended
to be a subset of the complex ISO DSSSL standard that's easier to implement
efficiently enough for a browser.

It's also clear that once you have a browser that doesn't have a fixed
mapping from tags to styles, you might as well make the tag list extensible;
it's a short step from there to supporting DTD-driven SGML documents.

At least two SGML browsers are coming shortly, one from us (SoftQuad Panorama)
and I _think_ there's at least one other SGML WWW viewer/browser in
development. Several people mentioned to me that they were thinking of it,
although I'm thinking of becoming a multi-millionaire, so that shouldn't be
taken too seriously yet.

So before long you can expect to have a choice for style sheets:
* Arena, and possibly other HTML 3 browsers (the person from
Netscape didn't say they were going to add style sheets; I expect Bill
Perry will add them to the emacs client at some poit, though)

* SGML browsers, with richer possibilities for markup, and hence finer-grain
control over styles

A few specific ideas came out of the session at WWW, but I don't think they
are worth repeating here, and I don't have notes; there was nothing very
significant apart from the author/publisher being able to override styles
in abnormal situations, and the promise of SGML browsers very soon.

My own concern is that the Arena styles are different from DSSSL Lite,
at least partly because Arena came first. They should probably be changed,
but I recognise that it's a bunch of programming work.

There are some problems with the current style sheet syntax when included
in a document -- HTML 2 browsers either go bananas or display the text
of the style sheet at the top of the document -- but I think that could be
fixed by putting the syntax into elements with attributes.

You can use a reference to an external style sheet file, and that's what
people will have to do in practice, at least until every browser knows
how to ignore or obey inline style sheets.

I think the best way to view the Arena style sheets is as a starting point
for experiments, discussion, and implementation experience.
Hakon & Dave have shown that it can be done. Now the next question is,
how _should_ it be done?


Liam Quin, SoftQuad Inc +1 416 239 4801   <URL:>
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