[Gllug] css upgrade - the holy grail

David Neil GLLUG at getaroundtoit.co.uk
Mon May 28 12:50:23 UTC 2007

Nix wrote:
> Sorry for diverging to rants on language standardization from a
> discussion on web apps. ;)

...it is a holiday weekend after all (although I'm still trying to work
out why 'public holidays' are called "Bank" holidays - in these days of
24x7 hot-and-cold-running ATMs what does Mr Mainwaring and his people at
the Head Office have to do with it?)

After taking into account Progga's original call, and concurring with
Jason's analysis, we've moved on to 'standardisation', but...the
'language' most relevant to Mark's original post was missed out. Is
there such a thing as an HTML standard? Well W3C call it a
recommendation[1] and yet TimB-L himself (doffs cap) calls it "the
standard". What is a small boy to think?

OTOH why bother? The critical issue for HTML/web site authors is not
'standard organisation HTML', but "implemented HTML" - feel free to
substitute many other languages and systems for "HTML" and the argument
still holds. (Nix mentioned SQL for example, FORTRAN and COBOL anyone?)

What does this have to do with Linux? Oh, er, um. Where do you find your
Apache code, its conf files, the HTML files it will serve? Uniform standard?

So do we come back to deciding that 'the standard' for our work is 'what
came out of the box' when the user/owner first fired up the PC? - and
then what impact that statement has if the (home) PC is eight years old
and counting? Ugh!

However or fortunately, most users don't just stop there. Firefox has a
huge number of 'extensions'[3] including the "Web Developer" plug-in
that was, er, plugged earlier. Similarly we have add-ons from Microsoft,
Macromedia, Adobe... that cover Internet Explorer (et al).

The process of adding these to one's basic browser has become easier and
easier which is good news if you are dealing with an 'Aunt Mary' type of
user. Unfortunately the 'load this, it will be fun!' type of approach
such purveyors seem to take is almost indistinguishable from the social
engineering approaches employed by 'the dark side'.

So either we stick with staid, old, boring, old, HTML (yawn) or we ask a
question: When is it reasonable to assume that one's audience will
either already have OR could easily be persuaded to download some add-on
(and not get themselves into trouble[4] so-doing)?


[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/
[2]  http://www.w3.org/html/
[3] not forgetting Adblock Plus, Flashblock, and NoScript which are
plug-ins designed to foil plug-ins! Software agents equivalent to
corporate security departments?
[4] there are many definitions of the word 'trouble' - and even more
ways of getting into it!
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