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From Stefano Mazzocchi <stef...@apache.org>
Subject Re: [OT] Design Rant
Date Wed, 19 Dec 2001 14:19:32 GMT
Copied to general@ since this is a general discussion.

Ugo Cei wrote:
> giacomo wrote:
> > I know :) but many sites only use *one* table to achieve the above which
> > (at least for older browsers) result in a need to have the hole page
> > downloaded prior to have it displayed in the browser. This above layout
> > can display the header as soon as it is available in the browser. This
> > way you don't have to wait in front of a blank screen too long.
> Many (well not that many, but they are starting to appear, see
> http://www.thenoodleincident.com/tutorials/design_rant/ for example, or
> my own http://cupva.cbim.it [C2 based]) sites use NO tables to achieve
> layout, but instead rely completely on *standard* CSS positioning
> properties to achieve layout.
> Let's face it: HTML <table>'s were never designed for laying out pages,
> but for laying out tabular data. Unfortunately, since the support for
> CSS was until recently very poor both in the browsers and in the design
> tools, 99.9% of current web pages use tables for layout. This is IMHO an
> ugly hack and we, as a community that strives to adhere to open
> standards and to the concept of separation of style from content, should
> avoid it like the plague. BTW, CSS-1 was published in 1996, so it's been
> out for more than FIVE years, it's time that people start using it for
> what it was meant for.
> Using a CSS-based layout also means that people using 4th generation
> browsers (NS 4, IE 4, etc.) must be "protected" from such a stylesheet
> or they will see utter garbage. Hiding the CSS from them means that they
> won't be able to appreciate the layout, but will nonetheless be able to
> read the full *content*, just not very well styled. But come on, this is
> a site devoted to *developers* developing for the Web. Can you imagine a
> web developer today using ONLY NS4 or IE4?
> Incidentally, adopting a pure-CSS based solution for both layout AND
> styling means that people using:
> - text browsers
> - screen readers for the sight impaired
> - mobile devices
> - anything you cannot conceive now but that will be make web
>    access available from your washing machine or whatever :)
> will be able to access the site contents without their "screen" or
> reader being cluttered with spurious markup that is not in any way
> related to the content they need.
> Before you start mentioning Cocoon's ability to select a different
> stylesheet based on the User-Agent request parameter, keep in mind that:
> - we are talking about pregenerating a static version of the site
>    for performance reasons
> - as I wrote above, you cannot foresee what user agents will browse your
>    site in the near future.
> In other words, what I am proposing is that we stop worrying about being
> bacward compatible in order to accomodate old, buggy and non-compliant
> user agents, but instead start to be FORWARD compatible in order to
> accomodate FUTURE standard-compliant user agents.
> Let me know what you think about it and sorry for being slightly OT.

It's a strong position but, hey, I find resonating with what you're
saying :)

We have the *luxury* to know what our user base is and estimate their
needs very precisely.

Moreover, this is a site dedicated to new technologies for the web and a
site dedicated to evangelize open standard compliance thru reference
implementations and cooperation.

If we page a page on the 'about' section that talks about our reasons, I
think people might even appreciate our effort to both evangelize the
technology and 'put in practice' what we say.

What do others think? (we must have a wide agreement to go forward on

Stefano Mazzocchi      One must still have chaos in oneself to be
                          able to give birth to a dancing star.
<stefano@apache.org>                             Friedrich Nietzsche

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