October 30, 2007

Late-night giggles

CSSEleven.com. Does­n’t this come across as too goofy to be tak­en seri­ous­ly? After star­ing with bleak won­der at the cap­i­talised mar­ketroid copy

CSS Eleven is an inter­na­tion­al group of visu­al web design­ers and devel­op­ers who are com­mit­ted to help­ing the W3C’s CSS Work­ing Group to bet­ter deliv­er the tools that are need­ed to design tomor­row’s web

I feel the uneasy sen­sa­tion that the group does­n’t have a firm idea of how to achieve this. Lack­ing an agen­da or man­i­festo and thus forg­ing on direc­tion­less, the site becomes a rolling adver­tise­ment for the eleven’s com­pa­nies, blogs & books, with wordy intro­duc­tions that are unnec­es­sary for the tar­get audi­ence and will prob­a­bly be skipped, because hon­est­ly who wants to read eleven resumés of the self-elected?

At this point I was going to make a crack about CSST­welve with Julia Roberts, but instead I’ll get seri­ous: The group aims to ral­ly design­ers instead of hav­ing them whine piece­meal on dis­parate forums for the next ten years. This is a wor­thy cause; with the WHATWG’s effort reach­ing crit­i­cal mass a com­mu­ni­ty CSS group has a sig­nif­i­cant chance of chang­ing the Work­ing Group’s direc­tion. Keep­ing the yap­ping mass con­tent (and cor­rect­ly informed) while man­ag­ing use­ful sug­ges­tions will take con­sid­er­able time and effort; a quick peek at the first two months of HTML5WG emails demon­strates how peo­ple can get most upset that their issue has­n’t even been dis­cussed yet (that may or may not be a sly nod to some­one in the CSSEleven.)

(An aside: Fan­ta­sai’s trea­tise on the CSSWG gave peo­ple a fair idea about the lim­it­ed time and man­pow­er avail­able to the poor souls bur­dened with plan­ning CSS’ future, but I’ve always felt that CSS3’s mod­u­lar approach was the begin­ning of the fall; I’m pleased to see news of a “CSS snap­shot” of sorts. It’s still not the right approach, and does noth­ing to com­bat the per­fec­tion­ism trap—If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well—that’s under­stand­ably dif­fi­cult to avoid when writ­ing unver­sioned specs, but it’s a won­der­ful line in the sand for brows­er vendors.)

I wish the CSSE­leven the best of luck, and may they soon have some con­tent, a blog and a com­mu­ni­ty meet­ing place.

Time for bed!

posted by Andrew

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