W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html-xml@w3.org > January 2011

Re: Use cases

From: John Cowan <cowan@mercury.ccil.org>
Date: Sun, 2 Jan 2011 15:07:19 -0500
To: Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis <bhawkeslewis@googlemail.com>
Cc: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>, Norman Walsh <ndw@nwalsh.com>, public-html-xml@w3.org
Message-ID: <20110102200719.GG2706@mercury.ccil.org>
Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis scripsit:

> But the implementors of the client software of the world wide web 

If we are going to be accurate, let us say "a few of the implementors of
a small fraction of the client software of the WWW".

> >> Also, in controlled environments you can just use other media types
> >> including all the text/html vocabularies if you want arbitrary
> >> XML vocabularies, so this *cannot* be a use case for adding such
> >> functionality to text/html.
> >
> > Just because there's more than one way doesn't mean the other way
> > "can't" be used.
> No need has been demonstrated.

Your position is that of a man who's traveling from New York (notoriously
a pedestrian city) to a California he has never seen, and setting out
on foot.  When he gets to the George Washington Bridge, a friendly
police officer suggests that he get a car.  "Why?" he says.  "No need
has been demonstrated!"

So far, HTML has had two vocabularies of the many possible ones that may
be useful incorporated into it by ad hoc means (not the root elements,
which can be made systematic, but the magic parsing properties whereby
apparent HTML elements within the SVG or MathML islands are surfaced).
Without a general means for incorporating new vocabularies, evolution
to include them will be at best slow and difficult, at worst no longer
possible because of unbreakable backward-compatibility constraints.

> That suggests we sometimes need to expand the core vocabulary by means
> of the standards process, not that we need to bypass the standards
> process.

De facto, the vocabulary is expanded first and the standards process
follows.  I happen to think that's a Good Thing: I much prefer
retrospective to prospective standardization.  But standards should
define a clean, non-ad-hoc way to expand the vocabulary rather than
letting it happen under the table, which has been the history of HTML
and has made it the collection of hacks we see today.

> I disagree that the information that might be represented via these
> vocabularies *cannot* be represented, albeit sometimes cumbersomely,
> with text marked up with today's generic text/html semantics.

Well, that's trivially true.  Any information whatsoever *can* be
represented with plain text, or for that matter with strings of 1s and 0s.
(Oh, wait, it *is* represented with strings of 1s and 0s.)  The point
is not what's possible but what's expressive.

> Resources that could be described using 3D graphics can also be
> projected in SVG and described using text. 

Only with loss of information: no 2-D projection of 3-D information can
do otherwise.  Google for "Ames room".

Cash registers don't really add and subtract;           John Cowan
        they only grind their gears.                    cowan@ccil.org
But then they don't really grind their gears, either;   
        they only obey the laws of physics.  --Unknown
Received on Sunday, 2 January 2011 20:07:48 UTC

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