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Re: [xml-dev] CSS does not use the XML syntax. Why not?

From: Thomas Lord <lord@---.--->
To: Rick Jelliffe <rjelliffe@-------.---.-->
Date: 6/23/2008 3:51:00 PM
Rick Jelliffe wrote:
> Costello, Roger L. wrote:
>> Hi Folks,
>>
>> CSS does not use the XML syntax.  Why not?
>>   
> Cause it had to fit into attribute values?

History matters:

The first CSS W3C recommendation for CSS is
dated 17 Dec 1996.

At that time, only a single XML working draft existed
and it was only about 30 days old.

That is probably the main reason.

Earlier in 1996 the idea of an SGML syntax for CSS was
raised on the www-style mailing list.   It was quickly
dismissed as impractical:  all pain for little gain;  vendors
were already anxious to standardize CSS;  browsers did
not commonly implement SGML parsers.  (Recall that
part of the motivation for XML was to obtain many of the
benefits of SGML but sacrificing the syntactic flexibility
of SGML in exchange for something easier to implement.)

Clearly, if one were to be designing CSS from scratch
today many compelling arguments for an XML syntax
could be made.   Equally or more compelling arguments
could be made for the current syntax.

Perhaps the thing to do, by someone who has a use at
hand for an XML syntax, would be to start in the same
way people have started on a similar question for XQuery:

Define an XML syntax for CSS and also write an XSLT
program that reads such XML and emits plain text CSS
in the current syntax.

-t

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