Craig Brozefsky on 9 Jan 2001 18:07:02 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Re: Disassociate Webdesign from Usability

brian carroll <> writes:

>  apparently CSS is an appearance-only markup. DHTML
>  (which i think is a blend of Javascript and CSS)
>  will add functionality, while XML will add custom
>  extensibility. the instructor basically agreed that
>  to make a website in this future will require one
>  to be a programmer.

CSS is not markup, but yes, it deals only with the presentation of the
document it's applied to.  It assigns different properties to the
structural elements of the document which determine how they will be
rendered by the browser, television, printer, or other presentation
device.  Learning CSS is all about learning how to address the
structural elements of the document, and what each property does.
With CSS you can go from very straightforward mappings of properties
to elements, or you can go for more abstract mappings in the quest for
re-usability and flexibility.  This makes it somewhat user-scalable,
like in HTML where you can go with unstructured tag-soup, or validated

>  i asked about the 'cut-and-pasting' of borrowed code
>  as a way to continue web development without needing
>  to have a programming background. i think the instructor
>  believed it (XML/DHTML) will be too complex, and so the
>  non-coders will be stuck in the aesthetics department
>  of CSS design, which is look separated from structure.

With XHTML/HTML4.0 you can still cut and paste code with no problem.
The only difference is that the markup language is slightly stricter.
For instance, you can't leave off closing tags, but you can use a
shortened tag notation for empty tags.  The definition of
well-formedness for HTML4.0 documents is also stricter, and the
average mook may have difficulties producing well-formed document
without some help from his tools.

XHTML also comes in several DTDs, ranging from something that
resembles present day HTML all the way too something that has no
display related tags at all.

>  i tend to disbelieve this future. but if i believe it,
>  then i can see Geert's top 20 list being at the front
>  of the wave of this new expert movement. in this future,
>  an individual will no longer be able to put up their
>  own site, but will need a cadre of workers to do the
>  simplest thing. additional views appreciated.

I disbelieve it entirely.  The GUI HTML design tools [will be/have
been] updated to produce HTML4 and CSS stylesheets, so people can use
those.  Or, if they want to learn the two technologies they can still
do them by hand.  If they don't like CSS they can use the transitional
DTDs and use most of the same display-oriented elements that they've
been using in HTML.  If they like CSS they can use the Strict DTDs and
do all the display control in CSS, which is not very complex.

What this "expert movement" does allow for is better encoding of data
that will be used by both people and machines.  This enables a whole
new set of document navigation, searching, and linking technologies by
making the structure of the document easier for machines to discern.
It also enables a whole new set of options for accesability and
presentation devices.  The same document can have multiple CSS
stylesheets, allowing it to be displayed on giant HDTV screens, or
tiny text only terminals, or perhaps text-to-speech devices, with the
author able to optimize the presentation on each of these devices.
Users can even apply their own stylesheets to documents if they have
special requirements like poor eyesight, or an unshakeable desire for
a particular font and color layout.

The presentation/structure split should not be taken as gospel of
course, but it does have it's advantages.

Craig Brozefsky                             <>
In the rich man's house there is nowhere to spit but in his face
					             -- Diogenes

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