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Thread: Interview with the Father of CSS, Hakon Wium Lie. Good insight

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    Active Member WorldBuilder is on a distinguished road
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    Interview with the Father of CSS, Hakon Wium Lie. Good insight

    Christopher Schmitt: How did you come to the notion for what would be CSS? What methods or technologies inspired CSS?

    Hakon Wium Lie: Around 1990, when the Web was developed at
    CERN, I wasn't there. Instead, I was at the MIT Media Lab working on personalized newspapers.
    The idea was to select content based on the background and interest of the user. Also, we wanted to make systems that presented news in a way the user preferred, e.g., on a big screen like a broadsheet paper or a smaller screen like a tabloid newspaper. Trying to combine the interests of the newspaper, the content, and the user was high on the list of goals. This is the background for the "Cascading" part of CSS.

    CS: What problems do CSS solve that traditional Web development methods don't?

    HWL: CSS let you express the presentation of a document, while HTML (or XML or any "ML") expresses the content and the structure. By making that separation, you can create pages that scale to fit different devices. You don't need to have a PC screen with exactly 800x600 pixels. Also, the presentation will look better!

    CS: Are you happy with the way things are going regarding markup and CSS? Any thoughts about SVC, SMIL, Flash?

    HWL: Most pages use CSS these days, but most often it's not used to its full potential. You will find pages that continue to use tables for layout and then—as an afterthought—sprinkle the page with CSS to achieve certain effects.
    This is partly due to browsers not implementing the more advanced features until recently. Also, Web developers—those who make pages—are increasingly conservative and stick to what works in Netscape 3. I think it's time to change!

    CS: Do you think the main problem with CSS seems to be with browser implementations? Browsers are getting better support for CSS, but it seems like it's a slow journey.

    HWL: Yes, it has been a slow journey. With hundreds of millions of Web browsers out there, it takes time to upgrade.
    In the early days, people upgraded their browsers whenever there was a new version of Mosaic—or something—available. The Web is moving slower with all the new users, and the journey, therefore, is slower.
    Buggy browsers are also a problem. The CSS support in Netscape 4 was a disaster. Microsoft's initial work was good, but as soon as they overtook Netscape in the user statistics, they stopped caring about standards. Only by strong involvement from the user community have they almost completed their support for CSS Level 1.

    CS: If someone wants to learn CSS, what tips would you give them?

    HWL: Buy a good book. Then, try writing simple HTML pages accompanied by simple style sheets. Write everything "by hand" to get that hands-on experience. Doing the simple stuff is very simple and the advanced stuff is only moderately hard.

    CS: What do you see for the future of CSS?

    HWL: CSS will be around for a while. It will be implemented in TVs,
    printers, and phones. There will also be revisions to the specification to add functionality that people request. The CSS group in W3C is working on CSS 3.

    CS: What do you see for the future of the web and Internet technologies?

    HWL: I plan to spend the rest of my life on the web, so I hope that it remains a place for the open exchange of information. The greatest threat to the web is the Microsoft ice age. I, therefore, encourage people to use software from other vendors, including Linux, Mozilla, and Opera.
    My Site | My Blog
    "The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."
    "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results"
    --Albert Einstein

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    Full Member Matrix28 is on a distinguished road
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    Very interesting. Thanks.

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    Moderator airnine is on a distinguished road
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    nice point those last words, well I'm here thanks to Firebird

    Airnine

  4. #4
    Active Member WorldBuilder is on a distinguished road
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    Not "firefox"?

    Chris
    My Site | My Blog
    "The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."
    "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results"
    --Albert Einstein

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