RE: DSSSL & Interleaf

Brian Behlendorf (
Mon, 15 Jan 1996 13:46:01 -0800 (PST)

Quick question here...

On Mon, 15 Jan 1996, Chris Wilson (PSD) wrote:
> Gavin Nicol wrote:
> >This is, of course, in addition to the fact that to accomplish it's
> >main goal of avoiding tag explosion, it will have to be able to supply
> >all of the possibilities that tag explosion allows. It is not even
> >close yet, and probably will never approach this goal.
> I still feel that CSS helps avert a large amount of tag explosion; for
> example, if we had had CSS in place in Internet Explorer 2.0, there would
> have been no "need" to create a tag for marquees.

Ah, but had a "marquee" functionality not been described in CSS1 (is it?
I can't find it), then what is a browser company to do? While I adore style
sheets as a way to separate structure from presentation, I worry that many
people see it as a solution to the "tag explosion" problem, when in fact it's
just moving the evolution to a different technology. We'll shortly see
extensions to CSS1 (everyone calling their extensions "standard CSS 2.0" of
course. :), and then have people running into the same versioning problems as
we have with HTML today.

Part of the evolution problem with HTML is that HTML, and markup
languages in general, do not have much in the way of supporting
conditional constructs. I.e. "try to render this, but if you can't, then
render it this other way...". There are per-tag hacks to accomplish this
(<EMBED>,<NOEMBED>, for example), and HTTP content negotiation (were it
actually implemented anywhere correctly) would also solve it at a certain
granularity, but it's still very, uh, clunky. Style sheets, on the other
hand, would seem to be able to be graceful about unknown parameters...
i.e., if someone wanted to make their text a marquee, and
marquee-functionality was not described, they could say

H1 {
marquee: right-to-left
color: red
font: sans-serif

and if the browser didn't understand "marquee", it was able to do
something perfectly adequate with it anyways. Thoughts?


p.s. - I won't even get into it now, but I'd like to eventually see style
sheets serving as "glue" between structural elements and java rendering
agents.... so I can distribute my own "h1" renderer for example.

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