<STYLE> considered harmful

Luke Y. Lu (ylu@mail.utexas.edu)
Sat, 18 Mar 1995 06:43:58 -0600

A recent debate prompted me to browse through the recent HTML 3.0 draft

I like the recent addition of DIV tag and CLASS, ROLE attributes. However,
I (re)discovered the STYLE tag -- a bad tag if you ask me. I am basically
appalled to see stuff like:

<style notation=dsssl-lite>
dsss-lite stuff

To me this is like seeing

<image format=gif>
binary/uuencoded image data here

in a html file, or seeing

asm {
ix86 assembly here

in ANSI/ISO C code.

I consider this STYLE tag harmful and redundant.


1) It's illogical. Style is considered as attribute of content. This
tag treat it _as if_ it _is_ content.

2) Directly embedding non-html stuff in html is a bad idea. we'd
better refer them as foreign objects.

3) <LINK rel=style href="style1.dsssl"> is more than enough for the
purpose. we can use more than one link to merge styles. With local
caching, unnecessary merge operation can be avoided.

4) Incompatibility. clients that do not recognize this tag will display all
the dsssl-lite garbage on the screen because it is treated as if it's
document content (see reason 1).

Please get rid of this <!ELEMENT STYLE...> before it's too late. This
is really a embarrassing hack compared with the well-thought-out FIG.


Luke Y. Lu