Re: Direct formatting STYLE attribute

Paul Prescod (
Thu, 7 Dec 1995 16:46:00 -0500

At 01:44 PM 12/7/95 -0600, Scott E. Preece wrote:
>Like any compromise, it's an irritant. My own opinion is that it's also
>an unnecessary irritant and that it is wrong-headed to intentionally
>design a language with a goal of forcing people to do something in a way
>that they may not want to do it. The language should not designed to be
>pedagogy, it should be designed to be an effective tool for writing
>documents. It should also be teachable, but an unrestricted STYLE
>attribute is in no way less teachable; it is just one more feature that
>a teacher may choose to present or ignore.

Most people are not taught HTML. They "pick it up on the Web". If they get
confused, they ask someone or look it up in a book.

The direct style attribute blurs the line between style sheets and HTML and
makes it more difficult to learn one without the other. Within weeks of the
release of the stylesheet enhanced Netscape, wg-html will be swamped with
requests for more "HTML style sheet tags." "I wish HTML supported
florescent hyphenation"

If it were really the case that "one more feature" would not make a language
harder to learn, then every language could have every feature. Those of us
(and this may well include you, Scott) who have programmed in languages that
have every feature know that this is _not_ the case. Extra features do make
a language harder to learn, especially if they are features that blur the
difference between components of the system.

Further, if those features blatantly overlap the abilities of another part
of the system, most people will think: "I must not understand this system.
Surely there is some difference between these two features."

Paul Prescod