RE: Initial Draft --Cascaded Speech Style Sheets

Gavin Nicol (
Thu, 15 Feb 1996 20:11:58 -0500

>1. I don't feel that this is the only major application of stylistic
>properties to text; I think many authors are the hack 'n' slash kind,
>who will think "I want this word to be blue," without considering what
>it is about that text that makes them want it blue. Also, sometimes it
>*IS* purely presentational - in writing poetry, for example, the author
>often wants a particular format of presentation - the goal is to express
>or convey a feeling, not to describe the content model of each piece of
>text on the screen. Especially, it would seem, in creating
>advertisements (inarguably a major faction of Web publishing), designers
>often want a particular font face, size, color or whatever, applied to a
>section of text for purely presentational (vs. content-based)

For such cases, people might be *far* better off using PDF or RTF, or
defining a tag set all of their own, with associated stylesheets. They
could define: <FONT>, <COLOR>, <MARQUEE>, or whatever they want.

>2. An explosion of tags to allow for tagged content (e.g. a particular
>tag solely for tagging names of people, like <PERSON> from an old HTML
>3.0 draft) would be great, if everyone could agree on the list of tags,
>and keep their UAs relatively up-to-date.

Alternatively, they could use a language which allows them to specify
an arbitrary set of tags.

>The abstraction through CLASS allows unique tagging without having to
>extend the DTD.

Sure, and supporting this is *at least* as complicated as supporting
unlimited tags. That is what the point of my posting with the "spam"
element in it was.

>However, before you take this as a vote for SGML browsers over HTML
>browsers, I do feel that the focus on HTML has allowed us (the Web
>community) to establish a ubiquitous baseline functionality that
>would be difficult if everyone's approach had been SGML==>some
>dynamic DTD==>Stylesheet hooks==>presentation from the beginning.

I disagree. In fact, I think we'd be *far* better off, because ay
least when someone defined <FONT>, everyone would be able to support
it. Currently, browser makers are defining things that are difficult
to deal with *because they don't understand the issues involved*, and
in the long run, they, and the user community will suffer. Worse, our
supposed "leaders" often show a remarkable tendency to ignore the very
valuable advice from people who have been down the same path
before. Many of the issues people had with CSS as WWW 4 have not been
dealt with yet, nor ever will be.

Len Bullard is right though: this is business, so what can you expect.

I should also note that the ubiquitous baseline is exactly what keeps
a lot of valuable content *off* the net.

>Wrapping a more-or-less-stable DTD and the stylistic properties
>applied to elements in that DTD into one (easier-to-implement)
>package has allowed HTML the glory of driving Internet publishing to
>incredible heights.

I do not consider this incredible heights. I consider this incredible
chaos, and incredible noise to signal ratios.