Making TIScript syntax compatible with CSS.

Time to time when I need to define some CSS constructs in script I feel myself non-comfortable – CSS and JavaScript/TIScript use different syntax’es.

Consider this code in JavaScript:

  function switchState() 
  { = "rgb(126,0,0)"; = "rotate(45deg) translate(10px,10px)";

Not so aesthetically pleasing. And not so effective as string parsing is involved.

And yet if for example you will need to get current rotation angle from style, increment it by some value and write it back then you will need to implement non trivial parsing using CSS rules and opposite toString translation for changed rule.

I’ve explored quite many JS frameworks that are capable working with styles – all they have good chunk of parsing CSS code.

But browser already parses the CSS and builds internal structures that represent CSS values. Code is there, why not to reuse it?

One way of dealing with this is to expose CSS internal structures using so called CSSOM. But that’s really too much work and result is still too narrative I would say.

Ideally that should look like this:

  function switchState() 
  { {
      background-color: rgb(126,0,0),
      transform: rotate(45deg) translate(10px,10px) 

And in principle JS syntax can be extended to support such constructions without conflicts with existing code:

  1. Allow names with hyphens like background-color in object literals.
  2. Allow values with units like 45deg, 10px and the like. That will require new data types in JS but they are handy anyway
  3. Add so called tagged tuples to the language. In terms of CSS this rotate(45deg) is not a function call but rather tuple (data structure with the name). In terms of TIScript this can be written as [rotate:45deg] – one element tuple with the tag ‘rotate’.
  4. Add whitespace as a valid list separator, at least in object literals, so this
       { transform: rotate(45deg) translate(10px,10px) }

    will be an equivalent of

       { transform:[rotate(45deg), translate(10px,10px)] }

    And that would be pretty much it.

In fact CSS syntax (that may look like a mess sometimes) uses in reality two types of lists and one tuple<2> (in order of precedence):

  1. comma separated lists: background: url(1.png),url(2.png);
  2. white-space separated lists: background: no-repeat url(1.png);
  3. pair-tuples: font: 12pt 10pt/14pt "arial";

But that would be next step. At the moment I am trying to add values with units and whitespace lists…