The web editors battle to CSS

From the buzz at the WaSP:

GoLive to Join CS 2.0

According to ThinkSecret, a revived GoLive 8.0 will join Creative Suite v2.0 to be released in early 2005. The news item reports Adobe is working to improve the handling of CSS content including a toolbar for adjusting CSS layouts.

Also getting a makeover is the grid element for CSS DIV authoring for easy switching between DIV and T-t-table layout views.

I’m looking forward to seeing how it handles CSS in comparison to Macromedia’s Dreamweaver. Will GoLive have a chance against Dreamweaver? Maybe it’s too late? Maybe not - after all, Firefox managed to shake up IE and Dreamweaver is not as dominant in Web authoring as IE is in Web browsing.

Macromedia is not yet there, so yes, Adobe has an opportunity in this battle.

Along with my long-standing quest for a web standards-compliant rich text editor, the lack of good support for CSS in the mainstream visual editors that are Macromedia Dreamweaver and Adobe GoLive is one of the major stumbling blocks for adopting web standards in certain situations, such as a company with its own internal web staff. The first software editor to deliver a good solution, notably one that handles CSS-P properly, will not get unnoticed, as it will remove a big burden for many people who would like to adopt modern methods but don't have the time, the need for or (let's be honest) the capacity and/or the willing to learn the code behind.

I know some purists who will claim that hand-coding pages is still the way to go, but the reality is that the vast majority of the pages out there are not hand crafted but generated by one wysiwyg tool or another, by people who have little to no clue of the underlying code. And there is absolutely no reason why this would change in the future, on the contrary.


yes, yes, yes...

"""but the reality is that the vast majority of the pages out there are not hand crafted but generated by one wysiwyg tool or another, by people who have little to no clue of the underlying code."""

And it's why the so-called need for simplicity of the underlying language is just a wrong argument. It is true for Applications developpers but not for users of the technology.

Fun to read that from someone who's not an editor's implementor. A simple underlying language is simpler to implement than a hard/difficult one, that's all; so it's easier to provide the users with tool doing the job and doing it RIGHT. Simplicity is the key here. Who needs a steamroller when a good hammer is enough.

hehe some people are so predictable that it's not funny anymore. :)

It's not a question of predictability, which is either a silly child's or an advanced diplomat's game. I don't recognize you in the latter choice.
It's just a question of fair description of a problem; and on that problem, you master only one end, and that's not enough to tell the world what should be the solution.

So you want an explanation but you already know that you refuse to hear for years.

1. Some computing engineers of the Web who had been used to the "simplicity of HTML" in the sense of not many tags. (Because the rules of SGML are more difficult to implement than XML, there are just more known because of history.) prays that the new language should be simple.

Karl: Agreed.

2. These engineers use as the main argument for simplicity, not their ease in development, but that their grand mother should be able to type the code.

Karl: This is plain wrong, but that's my opinion. As François said, most of the users don't look at the code. The main differences in our ideas are here.

3. The Web is developping with different needs and different platforms, like every places, technologies, etc, it's called a complexification of technology and that's normal. It has happen to everything. Yes someone was able to use the mechanical energy of a river to run his business, but at point, he needed electricity, and yes it was more complicated, where he was able maybe to design his system at the start, he's not anymore able to do so because there's a Team for an engineer team with other competencies for electrical engines. Every pieces of technologies and even nature has done that. From Acids to complex molecules.

Karl: There's a balance to adopt between simplicity and complexity and manage the two at the same time is very hard. Sometimes you have to specialized the tasks. It's often frustrating for the persons who were used to the old model because they have the feeling to loose their competencies, when they become in fact more specialized on one point of them. I believe one of the frustration of 1.

Though in the conclusion is like if you were asking me to send a satellite in orbit with Newton Physics... I wish I could do, it would be a lot simpler, but the complexity of general relativity, makes my life a lot easier to send one a satellite and as a user to benefit from the satellite. Before for the news I had to wait the journal cross the ocean, now it's broadcast on TV. Evolution of technologies for carrying a medium.

Another change which is frustrating for developpers these changes happen a lot faster than before in the past. Though except if you want to change the way the world is working, you have to be prepare to change professions, competencies, etc during all your life. We will never stop to learn. Though I have friends who made the choice to stop, but they quit the business and left for the country side to grow vegetables. And I admire them, because it's a very difficult choice to do.

François, sorry, I never intended to turn this comments' list into such a pointless dialog. In fact, before Karl's first attempt to trigger my answers, I was about to insert in my own blog an "interesting point of view on CSS and tools by Padawan on his blog, please come and contribute". I did not do it because the lame show given here does not deserve a wider audience, even if the problem you raise deserves it.
Karl just does not get what I mean, and as usual makes the confusion between what I am really thinking, what he thinks I am thinking, and what he thinks the tool implementors are thinking. He is miles away from industrial software process here. And I am myself a hundred lightyears from what he believes I am thinking, but he is blind and deaf.
End of this thread for me, the developer has code to develop, and customers waiting. "Customers". A word the standards people should repeat 7 times before saying bullshits.

Last point: I have no other way but this comment to let you and Karl know about the last opinion expressed above. So I'll perfectly understand if you remove this comment in a while to "freshen" a bit this post. Sorry for that, I owe you a beer ;-)

Daniel, if I'm bothered about something it's the personal tension I can feel between two people who I happen to know and like. This said, if I can grasp the basis of your argument, I feel I'm still missing most of your respective case.

This reminds me that I have to explain why I think Karl is wrong when he says that I set wrong expectations with my last post on rich text editors. There is an inherent contradiction in your thoughts Karl to acknowledge that the vast majority of pages are produced using some sort of wysiwyg software and pretend that it's not possible to produce a rich text editor that spits out good web code. I trust it is possible, and it must happen, or all those norms you're advocating will just die by simply being ignored by 99% of the web.

Now, because I don't pretend to detain the truth and for the sake of the debate, you're all welcome to continue to develop your point of view here ;-). Preferably without calling anyone names!

François: Contradiction not exactly :) I just say that with a wysiwyg tool and *without templating* it's not possible to produce structured and meaningful code. :)

When you do an insert address here, if you do it ala word which is a structured templating system in this case and not anymore a wysiwyg tool, it will insert all the necessary field to edit the information in the good way (in boxes, it's not free editing.)

Structure editing is just impossible on plain wysiwyg editors without something that can structure the editing. The interoperability problem comes then to the surface, do we agree on templating.

For a good example, take the addressbook of the mac. It's a structured templating system, which removes almost all possibilities of styles, and gives a very strict structure. Though I can't enter address of people living in Malaysia, and I have at least 5 persons living there, it means that a new template for malaysian addresses have to be made. But someone has to create the template... it's not free editing.

If you do structure editing, you need template designers, if you need template, you will need standards for this template languages, and standards for the meaning of things used into it (RDF) and here come the complexification of things. I don't mind it. But everything comes with a price.

For Daniel: Until he will not have changed his ways of behaving, I can't answer. I answered politely and technically to his points even if he has been agressive in the first comments. I can communicate only with people respectful of privacy, who I can trust, and don't do personal attacks in their comments and replies. I really wished it has been another way. I have been slapped twice already, that's the 3rd time, it's far to be enough.

Karl & Daniel: as I wrote before I do appreciate both of you and I want to understand your technical position. As for anything else, I'll be happy to see you and discuss about la vie, l'univers et le reste, in a less virtual space ;-).

Karl: I do not wish to answer to your points on the rich text editors right here in my tiny comment box. I need to detail what I have in mind and it requires space and time.

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