Re: Style Sheets for HTML

Sat, 28 May 1994 18:45:16 +0200

In article <> you write:

|>Rob Raisch says:
|> <sigh> Yes, stylesheets are VERY VERY important to the future of the web
|> for publishing. Tools like Mosaic are only really useful to the
|> end-user. They support few of the requirements a publisher looks for in a
|> publishing platform.
|> Having talked to many, many publishers, I can tell you that they are
|> excited about tools like Mosaic until they resize the window -- thus
|> completely reformatting the document -- or until I show them how trivial it
|> is for the consumer to change the font.
|>I am visually handicapped. One of the things that makes my life a little more
|>difficult is publishers' fondness for making things a little prettier by doing
|>things like printing grey text on slightly lighter grey backgrounds (I find
|>much of what's printed in Wired illegible, for example). One of the ways that
|>WWW viewers make my life easier is exactly by allowing me to play with fonts
|>and colors so I can read more comfortably.
|>Stop talking to publishers. Talk to readers. Tell the publishers what the
|>readers said.

Just a quick note on how we see HTML+ going in the immediate future,
this is taken from the HTML+ workshop at WWW'94. Proper minutes where
the difference between my opinions and those of others can be distinguished
will be posted in due course :-)

1) First priority is to build a coherent spec defining what we do now to
give to the commercial companies.

2) HTML+ should start to emmerge soon. This will offer much better support
for tables and figures. Maths will follow.

3) We have been discussing with companies which work in the special needs
field. We are confident that the spec we have can be made to interoperate
with SGML markup developed specifically for braille and voice synthesis.
The move to HTML+ will be used to encourage a move away from some HTML
markup conventions that are a problem in this area.

On this point there will be some negotiating and bargaining between the spec
editors over resolving legacy issues between HTML+ and DTDs designed for
special needs. BTW this process takes time and also means that the process
of standardisation cannot be the usual internet model of the first person
to produce code. This is not an electronic democracy but a meritocracy. Some
peoples votes count for more than others because of the people they represent.
Those providing support for people with special needs, both at the
severe level and less severe such as dyslexia have a rather more influential
say than certain others.

That said the issue of style and style sheets is very important. The main
priority though is supporting the forms of expression such as tables
and maths which are currently not supported before doing pretty fonts etc.
That said support for many items such as centering just falls out after a
proper implementation of tables has been done. We prefer to defer thinking
about this until the current changes are more complete.

We want to be able to support magazines which have a strong typographical
impact such as WiReD. We don't see that allowing the publisher to give
more typographical information is a bad thing. On the other hand we do
not intend to produce a page description language or move to a paged
display model in the near future.

Keeping it simple while still allowing powerful expression is the objective.
It is not our aim to produce a spec that is simple through not being
functional. We want to be both functional and simple.

Phillip M. Hallam-Baker