[thelist] Web standards (was: The Web's future: XHTML 2.0)

Peter-Paul Koch gassinaumasis at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 23 11:00:01 CDT 2002

>PPK> However, many people are confusing two things:
>PPK> 1) The idea that there ought to be standards that everyone follows.
>PPK> 2) The actual standards themselves.
>PPK> The great attention that WaSP and other involved parties have given to
>PPK> 1 by convincing everyone that standards are there to be followed,
>means that
>PPK> point 2 gets no attention at all.
>The actual standards get no attention at all? Who is not paying

People writing about webstandards and why they are a good idea (and in
general they *are* a good idea, don't get me wrong).

What I mean is that in the current standards-debate, as soon as you say a
specific detail of the standards is vague or wrong, people react as if you
said no one should use standards and standardization is worthless.

>If you think that someone just dreams all these standards up, go join
>a W3C mailing list and see for yourself.
>PPK> In fact, whenever someone (me, for instance) says that this or that
>PPK> of the standards is wrong, too complicated or whatever, other people
>PPK> this as a denial of the fact that there ought to be standards. Not so.
>People have been ignoring large swaths of the standards since html 2.

And the reason is that the standards don't give them what they want/need.
The reason is *not* that they think there shouldn't be standards at all.

That's my point.

>PPK> W3C has done a great job in inventing CSS and it deserves to be a
>PPK> Nonetheless I think there are some errors in the CSS spec, for
>PPK> - the box model is completely illogical
>CSS is a different topic altogether but saying that the box model is
>illogical is completely illogical to me, to me it's like saying milk
>that is white is illogical.

Take a physical box, any box. Put something in it that is distinctly smaller
than the box. Ask anyone to measure the width of the box. What will they
measure? The distance from rim to rim (border to border), not the width of
the thing in the box.

That's logical and sensible, measuring just the content isn't.

>PPK> - there is no way to vertical-align a text in a DIV with a fixed
>You mean this is impossible? Wait till I show the guys at work!
><div style="height: 500px; width: 500px; position: absolute;
>background-color: #ffffff;">
>         <p style="padding-top: 50%">Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet</p>

That will work, sure, but you need an extra HTML element, something I'd like
to avoid (but cannot, at the moment).

>They will never be perfect, however as humans we will constantly
>strive to make them more perfect even though we know it's futile.

And that's what I'd like to do. Find out where the problems are and think
about fixes. But as soon as I try to say something about it, people accuse
me of being anti-standard.


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