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From giacomo <giac...@apache.org>
Subject Re: [OT] Design Rant
Date Wed, 19 Dec 2001 19:45:03 GMT
On Wed, 19 Dec 2001, Stefano Mazzocchi wrote:

> 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?

I know that not only developers view the apache sites. I've been told
that system administrators go here as well because the developers in
their company like to use open source in their own software and thus the
administrators want to know more about what they will face to

I know of manager visiting the sites to verify we told them the truth
about open source, licensing, cool projects when we do evangelize OS
products to them.

Those people are not on the edge of the technology (read use
IE6/NS6.2/Mozilla browsers). They have corporate PCs with the software
someone else has installed there and they usually are not able to change

I don't want to say we shouldn't go the CSS way, but we might not be
able in all cases to show our cool sites (in terms of technology used)
to the ones having something to say in companies where others here like
to bring in OS software.

I know my own customers which are still using IE4 and NS4 (both have
very diffrent implementation of CSS features)


> >
> > 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
> this)

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