style sheets

Hakon Lie (
Fri, 8 Sep 1995 16:38:13 +0200

David Siegel writes:

> I was a graduate student of Knuth's and am working on various web projects,
> from my personal site (which was just awarded runner-up Cool Site of the
> Year by the people of the Web) to my book on Advanced Web Site Design. I
> have a designer's viewpoint, and I would like to become more involved in
> style sheet specs.


> I have a large site with an essay on the future of HTML/Web design, I hope
> you'll see it:
> http:/

I've read you essay and have some comments.

Your essay is a call for more emphasis on design on the web. That's
what this list is all about. You rightfully state that we should not
scrap centuries of typographic refinement when moving onto a new
medium. Agreed.

Also, you praise Netscape for making the first browser worth
criticizing. At the same time you say the "Almost everything I do on
the Web is a workaround to get back [..] typographic and visual
control ..". Workarounds are hardly the solid foundation we need when
adding style to the web. You posted your message to www-style, and I
would think most people in this forum see style sheets as the right
answer to your call. Currently, using publically available browsers
and style sheets, you can "control" white space, fonts, colors and
some other visual effects. The CSS style sheet language that I'm
partly responsible for has the potential of coding up the visual
aspects of your essay in 10 lines or so. You would still have to use
images for your initial caps (it does support initial caps, but not
the extra box you put around yours'). Also, the top part of your
document would require a gif for the graphics, while the text can be
put on top of it. Anti-aliased? Sure!

Bottom line: you can achive equally or better (the giff'ed text comes
out bad if Netscape decides to dither) design through style
sheets. Your content will be more compact and your style can be
applied to more than one document. Also, this strategy will ensure
that *all* browsers, including the non-visual ones, can render your
documents. What could be better?

> Please read my essay and tell me how I can help.

How about writing an essay on the style sheet approach?



Hakon W Lie, W3C/INRIA, Sophia-Antipolis, France