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Old 12-24-2007, 01:23 AM   #8
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Paris, France
Posts: 5
Default Standards are not strictly about the validator's verdict

Thanks again for your standards advocacy here and elsewhere. Your role helps keep developers and designers honest in intention and tidy in execution. I must say, though, that with regard to the Big Medium style sheet, I believe that I have been both.

Originally Posted by iamback View Post
why not use IE-only but still syntactically valid conditional comments to include an IE-only extra style sheet?
I chose not to use an IE-only style sheet because it's more verbose than the six characters "zoom:1" and also adds an additional HTTP connection for exactly the same effect: To add a CSS property that browsers except IE will ignore. (I reserve IE-only style sheets for cases where I need IE to have different *values* for specific properties, thus avoiding ugly selector hacks that will break in future browsers.)

Except for getting the validator's, er, validation, I miss the conceptual or practical difference between hiding an entire style sheet versus relying on the W3C CSS specification to hide a specific property. Indeed, when I use the zoom property, I'm relying specifically on the W3C's original 1996 CSS specification. From section 7.1 of the W3C's CSS specifications: "a declaration with an unknown property is ignored."

(Practically, this means that the W3C validator is incorrect when it marks a proprietary tag as an "error." It's simply a line that CSS parsers should ignore. This is really more in the category of a warning, but that would undermine the validator's use in catching typos.)

The usage is also future-compatible even if the zoom tag is adopted in, say, CSS7 (lord help us). Because of its value, zoom:1 would not change the display in future browsers that might adopt the property. I'm deploying a browser-specific property to fix a browser-specific bug with no impact on current or future browsers.

Originally Posted by iamback View Post
If you care about standards and must support IE's quirks, then that is the way to do it and still publish valid code.
I care very deeply about standards. But I no longer conflate standards strictly with the validator's verdict. I used to live and die by the CSS validator. My views on that have changed, as you can tell. I don't use proprietary properties lightly, but to me "standard" markup simply works in all browsers, including future browsers that follow current and possibly future specifications.

All that said, I welcome your criticism, and I'm not doctrinaire about what I've written here. If the consensus feedback from customers (and potential customers) says that including a single proprietary property in my CSS is a fatal flaw, I'll certainly consider falling back to the slower alternative of an IE-only style sheet.

Originally Posted by iamback View Post
how about explaining what "CMS ninjas" and "Programming fu" are?
Of course! Just a bit of fun wordplay. A ninja connotes advanced, even mystical, expertise--and thus a CMS ninja is someone who is a master of data schemas and the ins and outs of configuring content management systems. Similarly, "fu" is used by the kids these days to refer to a high level of expertise, a reference to kung fu (I'm admittedly mixing Japanese and Chinese martial arts references here).

When I say that the software is *not* aimed at CMS ninjas and that no programming fu is required, I'm just having a little fun with the copy to suggest that people who have never worked with a CMS or don't know a scrap of code will be at ease with the software.

A bit more wordplay, while I'm at it: the Big Medium name is not only a reference to the Internet (a pretty grand medium!) but to the medium as a psychic who helps regular folks communicate with an unseen world, in this case the world of markup and web servers.

Happy holidays!

Last edited by joshclark; 12-24-2007 at 05:07 AM.
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