W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-evangelist@w3.org > December 2004

Re: Intuitiveness and documentation of XHTML

From: Pid <webmaster@neutralgrey.net>
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2004 14:00:25 +0000
Message-ID: <41C2E679.4010505@neutralgrey.net>
To: "'public-evangelist@w3.org'" <public-evangelist@w3.org>

You know, maybe he's right, this stuff *is* quite hard to read.
In the light of this, I'd like to suggest that we formalise the 
structure of future rants.
(I'm still working on the DTD...)


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="iso-8859-1"?>
<?xml-stylesheet href="rant.css" type="text/css"?>
    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD RML 1.0 Strict//EN" 
    <!-- Rant Markup Language -->
    <rant xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2004/rant" lang="en" xml:lang="en">
    <disclaimer>This is a general comment. Not sure if this is the best 
list for
      posting this, but if you know a better one, please cross post for 
    <platitude>First of course, I'd like to commend everyone in the W3C 
for their hard
      work, against all corporate odds, over the years. </platitude>
    <intro>Here is my take on the present state of HTML.</intro>
    <p>A big problem with the W3C documentation is serious lack of 
practical examples.
     <questionable alt="why is this a problem? how are they duplicating 
work if they're adding
        examples?">This has lead to all sorts of other sites trying to 
duplicate the W3C's
      work just to add real world examples and make it read less like a 
    <p>The W3C seems to want to avoid examples directly in their 
      maybe because it's not abstract or academic enough, but that seems 
      an arbitrary decision. </p>
    <p>Examples make the documentation more complex, but maybe they 
could be maintained
      Wiki-style. Computers exist to <shout>do</shout> more and more 
work for the user, not
      <shout>make</shout> more and more work. Computers should be 
applied to the most complex and
      demanding, and even annoying, aspects of making life easier for 
    <p>In contrast, there is an almost moralistic tone to much of what 
the W3C
    <p>Besides the good things, though they are so slow to develop, in 
the background
      there is a virtual crusade to make everything in the languages 
more abstract
      without ever showing the advantage of the abstraction. It is often 
      abstraction for the sake of abstraction.</p>
    <p>There seems to be a crusade to add abstraction, complexity, and 
      rules to every aspect of the language, and always to subordinate 
the HTML
      coding experience of average users to the coding 
      of whoever implements mundane XHTML parsers. Look at all the 
      in the syntax requirements of XHTML. </p>
    <p>They have added all sorts of <hardly>arbitrary</hardly> closing 
keystrokes and required
    characters here and there, and <hardly>ridiculous</hardly> "/" 
requirements that any intelligent
      <item type="xml"/> parser could automatically recognize or at 
least recognize
    <shout>multiple replacements</shout> for.</p>
    <!-- why not replace all of the tags with arbitrary strings while 
we're at it -->
    <p>But they have chosen a completely rigid, inflexible framework. 
HTML just
      gets <misunderstanding correction="more like XML">less intuitive 
and less "human"
        all the time</misunderstanding>. Basically, for humans, XHTML's
      <shout>user interface sucks!</shout> What happened to the concept of
      <a href="http://dev.perl.org/perl6/" title="PERL6">natural 
language programming</a>
      ? (not necessarily in English) And design flexibility? Isn't HTML 
a textbook
      candidate for built-in, W3C specified <shout>flexibility</shout>? 
I mean we are not talking
      about <shout>guidance systems</shout> here - for that, you use 
certified, 100% rigid ADA code.
      HTML and XHTML is 99% going to be for plain webpages by regular 
users and should be designed
      for <shout>that</shout> use, <shout>not</shout> satellites, and 
not as an object lesson in computer
      language theory for non-programmers who should never have to do 
complex coding. </p>
    <p><fallacy alt="I'd suggest that FrontPage itself is the cause of 
the problem...">Now, due to the failures
      of W3C, those users have to buy FrontPage to even make a _webpage 
for their dog_ that will not get
     dissed by HTML snobs and possibly search engines too</fallacy>. 
It's like a circular, self-justifying form
      of tech-elitism.</p>
    <p>I strongly suggest that the W3C acknowledge that by making a 
simple, standards
      compliant webpage more complex to create for novice users using a 
      text editor, they have <shout>failed</shout> part of their 
responsibility, and a major effort needs to be made to maintain
      support for older simpler HTML standards while actually 
<shout>continuing</shout> a
    development branch to maintain a DTD for a simple, highly intuitive 
      of HTML document intended for 99% of the people outside the W3C.</p>
    <p>Thanks again for hearing this out - John McLaren</p>



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Received on Friday, 17 December 2004 14:00:12 UTC

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