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Gary Edwards

Hey Sam, slight glitch. I think you meant:

"Marc Andreesen (Netscape, then NCSA Mosaic) didn't care for CSS."

"XML People" is indeed a great read.

One question though about the history of CSS. Why didn't OpenOffice adopt CSS as the presentation layer?

I had heard that when the Sun OO/StarOffice group was considering writing their own browser, one of the more important issues was that of writing XHTML+CSS formats natively in OOo. This decision predates Open Office XML, now ODF.

The story goes that when they cancelled the OO/SO browser, all work on XHTML+CSS ended. What happened next sounds like the stuff of legends, reminiscent of the fateful Andressen decision to ignore CSS. The Open Office XML format was designed not with the highly portable, infinitely interoperable CSS presentation layer, but with an entirely application specific presentation layer based on automatic-styles.

This decision to go with an application specific presentation layer continues to haunt ODF to this day. Perhaps more than any other aspect of ODF, the presentation layer is the cause of the current ODF interoperability nightmare.

One can't help but wonder what ODF interop would be like today if Sun had gone ahead with that XHTML+CSS browser initiative way back when.


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