Re: draft-ietf-html-style-00.txt

Michael J Hannah (
Thu, 7 Dec 1995 10:17:08 +0700

I am finding it interesting and difficult to keep up with the
threads on this topic in two different mailing lists, especially
when some comments are sent to one and not the other. I am
equally guilty of this as exemplified by my last message sent
only to the html-wg list.

In that message I retreated to a position that it was outside
the scope of the html-wg to define the contents of the value
assigned to the STYLE attribute available on every HTML element.
HTML wants simply to identify "hooks" for style information while
remaining completely independent of the style notation being used.

With that in mind, let me drop the other shoe.

If we say that it is solely the responsibility of the style group
e.g. CSS, to decide what is allowed as a value assigned to a STYLE
attribute, why do we need the CLASS and ID attributes? I have never
seen these used or defended except for use by style notation. Why are
we assuming that a particular style notation must/will use the concept
of classes or an id? There have been messages on both the html-wg list
and the www-style list claiming that these element attributes of STYLE
versus CLASS/ID are redundant and confusing.

Will we lose anything if we remove CLASS and ID and only keep STYLE
as an attribute on every HTML element? Not if you assume that the
only purpose for CLASS and ID is for style purposes, because the
content of the value assigned to the STYLE attribute can still refer
to classes and ids.

Making up my own notation as an example (but borrowed heavily from
CSS1), let us assume that a name inside the STYLE attribute value that
is not followed by a colon is a style selector such as a style class or
style id. If the name is followed by a colon then it is a style
declaration element. Now let us assume that we have a general class
"corporate" and a subclass of "regulations" (defined in either the
STYLE element or in some LINKed style sheet) and we also want to modify
this paragraph where all text has a line through it (like a deleted
paragraph). With the current proposal we would (I think) have:

<P CLASS="corporate.regulations" STYLE="text-decoration: line-through">
This text should be rendered as deleted text.</P>

If we remove the CLASS and ID attributes and simply have one STYLE
attribute whose contents is the responsibility of the style notation:

<P STYLE="corporate.regulations; text-decoration: line-through">
This text should be rendered as deleted text.</P>

1) Can the style/CSS working group specify everything they want to
specify with regards to style with only three hooks in HTML?
a) LINK as described in the draft to access style sheets
b) a STYLE element for in-document style sheet specifications
c) a STYLE attribute on every element (and no CLASS or ID)

2) Is there some markup purpose OTHER than style for which the HTML
working group wants to introduce the new (not defined in RFC 1866)
attributes of CLASS and ID?

I assume the answers are 1) yes, and 2) no. Am I wrong?