[whatwg] Seperation of Content and Interface

Matthew Raymond mattraymond at earthlink.net
Thu Jul 15 10:46:25 PDT 2004

Ian Hickson wrote:
>>>There is one that works in Firefox, although I forget what it is
>>>called. The idea is to include it by default in the "Advanced features"
>>>pack included in the installer.
>>It would have been nice if they got this kind of thing working BEFORE
>>they took out the native support for it.
> The idea is a streamlined browser for the masses. The existing
> implementation was deemed confusing, and thus not appropriate for the
> masses. The streamlined UI is one of the many things that makes Firefox as
> popular as it is.

    I don't see what that has to do with proper planning. If they plan 
to move support for a feature in the HTML 4.01 spec from the browser to 
an extension, and then you fail to actually make or maintain the 
extension after they remove support, how is that any different from 
simply dropping the feature?

    It's one thing to slim the browser down. It's quite another thing to 
pretend you're going to support a feature and then drop it. I'd have 
respected them form if they simply said they

>>>The Firefox devs agree. And if they can't find a better solution by
>>>1.0, they'll remove alt stylesheet switching altogether.
>>They better not! If the do, it will be the worst decision the Mozilla
>>Foundation has made since they took out MNG support.
> Not a very bad decision then. :-)

    Yeah, why would the web need an open format that supports things 
like JPEG compression with alpha support, or animated 8-bit palettized 
images with alpha, or animated RGBA images?!! Who cares if Dynamic MNGs 
would greatly simplify rollovers?!? Stick with GIF. It's only a little 
older than some of the webmasters out there...

>>Any browser that doesn't support alternate stylesheets by the time XBL2
>>is completed will be risking their marketshare.
> I don't see why, could you expand?

    I'm not quite sure about XBL2, but Mozilla XBL allows the use of XBL 
files via CSS. A specific XBL file can be used on a specific element in 
the stylesheet. Therefore, if you have alternate stylesheets, changing 
stylesheet can actually change the functionality of various widgets and 
elements in the page. Perhaps, when I have time, I'll create a sample.

    Without the ability to change between stylesheets, users will only 
be able to see a single interface, and it will have to be a generic one 
watered down to conform to the masses rather than tailored to the tastes 
of specific groups.

    One day, users may even be able to use tools to easily write their 
own stylesheets to override those of sites they visit frequently. Sites 
may start offering entire collections of CSS themes, much like browser 
themes. Webmasters and UA vendors need to learn to embrace user control 
of presentation rather than attempting to suppress it.

>>>>I understand the need for a quick and simple browser for the masses,
>>>>but making it impossible or nearly impossible to use features of W3C
>>>>recommendations directly undermines those recommendations.
>>>The problem (for both of these features) is that nobody has yet come up
>>>with a decent UI for them. Suggestions and patches welcome. :-)
>>Are you suggesting we make this part of Web Apps 1.0? Wouldn't mind
>>that. Might have some ideas of my own on that.
> Make what part of WA1?

    I wrote this a while ago, but I believe I was referring to enhancing 
the specification of the existing <link> system to make it more powerful 
and to create uniform guidelines for implementation across different 
browsers, so that webmasters know what to expect from a UA.

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