Eric Meyer has started poring over the WaSP community’s suggestions for CSS3 with a series of posts on his weblog—3 so far in less than a week. The original feedback compiled by Fantasai is a monstrous read in itself, but all these are worth perusing if you care remotely about the future of web design.
It’s comforting to have one of the gurus like him to really go over this. Although he didn’t promise to address every single point on the list, what I’m seeing so far is extremely comprehensive. More importantly, we have a strong figurehead that’s rolling up his sleeves and setting up these blog posts as the stage for discussion with people who are not necessarily involved with the W3C and other stakeholders like the browser vendors.
Between debating over specific CSS features (e.g., containing floats, center positioning, selector blocks) and looking at the bigger picture…
Maybe CSS isn’t the place for this. Maybe there needs to be a new layout language that can be defined and implemented without regard to the constraints of the existing CSS syntax rules, without worrying about backwards compatibility. Maybe that way we can not only get strong layout but also arbitrary shapes, thus leaving behind the rectangular prison that’s defined the web for almost two decades.
I don’t have a concrete idea to propose here, because it’s not up to us any more. A solution was worked out over the course of several years and then found wanting by the implementors. Really, it’s up to the implementors to figure it out now. I personally would like to just lock the browser teams from Microsoft, Mozilla, Opera, and Apple in a room and not let them out until they’ve defined something that works and they’ve all agreed to implement soonest. I might even supply food and water.
…we have to keep talking and stay restless but hopeful. We may not be able to give the final word on the next version of HTML and CSS and the web browsers, but we can talk about what could go into them while the W3C listens.
And maybe we can stop acting like the current technologies are our handicap and take the plunge. Okay, maybe splashing water all over might not be a good idea at once. Try dipping your toes. Try your left leg. Try wading. The key is to at least try.