Subject: Re: HTML & CSS
From: "Eric J. Ray" <ejray -at- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 07:09:57 -0700

At 02:47 PM 12/7/98 +0100, John Cornellier wrote:
>Isn't CSS an idea whose time has come? Good DTP uses styles, and not
>character formatting, right?

Yes, it's a grand idea.

>If it isn't being implemented, why not? Because it's too easy to create
>template docs in the HTML generator tools? Lack of support for CSS in HTML
>editors? People aren't willing to invest the time in the long-term benefits
>of CSS in a fast-changing environment? Has anyone considered CSS and opted
>not to implement?

Yes, we did.

We're not using it on the RayComm site because of the spotty
and erratic implementation across _ALL_ browsers that
claim to support it, let alone the backwards compatibility
issues of supporting non-CSS browsers. We've written
books that cover it fairly extensively (and are actually revisiting
the subject right now), but thanks to non-support from Netscape and
Microsoft, we'll not be implementing it wholesale any time soon.

What's particularly pathetic about CSS Implementation is that a chapter
of one of our books (written in July 1997) that pans CSS implementation
and cautions against using it for any non-trivial purposes wouldn't
need much revision to reflect the state of the art
in December 1998. Lots of potential, lousy implementation.

For details, see:

The Zeldman site refers to "bizarre Cubist renderings" of
styles, and that's a fair assessment in many cases.

Check the dates as you read through other Web-based references--the
highly enthusiastic ones are between 9 and 18 months old,
while the more cynical ones are newer.

If you're going to use CSS, also use browser-detection scripts
to make your authoring easier--just provide different
sites for IE w/ CSS, Netscape w/ CSS, and other. Sigh.

BTW, IE5 offers little encouragement for better support.
No telling yet about Mozilla/Navigator 5. Opera's support
isn't bad in the newest version.


Eric J. Ray RayComm, Inc. ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com

*Award-winning author of several popular computer books
*Syndicated columnist: Rays on Computing
*Technology Department Editor, _Technical Communication_

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