W3C | Submissions

Comment on Action Sheets Submission

W3C is pleased to receive the Action Sheets submission from Netscape. Conceptually, action sheets are similar to style sheets: style sheets attach presentational properties to elements in structured documents, and action sheets attach behavior to elements in structured documents. By doing so, action sheets share some of the benefits of style sheets: they can, for example, improve markup and ease site maintenance.

Whereas style sheets are declarative, action sheets -- as proposed -- point to executable code. W3C believes documents, to the largest extent possible, should remain declarative to ease document conversion, indexing and presentation requirements. However, when it's necessary to attach executable code to documents, the mechanism for doing so should be efficient and well-defined.

Cascading Action System (CAS) is a concrete proposal for syntax and functionality for action sheets. It reuses the selector syntax from CSS2 and exposes event handlers defined in HTML4.0.

One of the examples in the submission (changing the color of "active" elements) can be specified declaratively using CSS2 pseudo-classes. This raises the question of when authors should use style sheets and when they should use action sheets for expressing a certain behavior/presentation. Also, should there be conventions for moving common action sheets behaviors to declarative style sheets? If accepted as a work item in a W3C Working Group, these issues must be considered.

Next Steps

As the submission notes, action sheets are distinct from style sheets. Still, due to the many similarities, the Working Groups within the Style Sheets Activity are invited to place the submission on their agenda. In particular, the CSS&FP Working Group is encouraged to review CAS.

The W3C membership is invited to discuss the disposition of the submission in the w3c-ac-forum mailing list or to advise the director in confidence via the W3C staff contact.

Disclaimer: Placing a Submission on a Working Group agenda does not imply endorsement by either the W3C Staff or the participants of the Working Group, nor does it guarantee that the Working Group will agree to take any specific action on a Submission.

Håkon Lie, W3C Style Sheets Activity Lead
$Date: 1998/07/01 15:56:52 $