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Re: WYSIWYM editors

From: Marcos Caceres <m.caceres@qut.edu.au>
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 14:51:22 +1000
Message-ID: <b21a10670703172151n101d56b0t5649065f73e4854c@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Robert Accettura" <robert@accettura.com>, "Daniel Glazman" <daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>, public-html@w3.org

Daniel, I've been teaching web development to undergraduate design
students for 8 years and most of my students seem to get it. Perhaps
this is an issue of pedagogical approaches to teaching the markup
rather than an issue with the markup itself. Also, I believe it's
harmful to use personal experience in these discussions as we are not
representative of the web and it's educators/users/designers at large.

Robert, am I reading your email correctly? are you seriously saying
that teaching designers is a "waste of time"?  And that people who
make graphic designs are somehow inferior because they don't organize
some silly tags in some 'right' way? I recommend you look up the
definition of designer because it seem to me that you have not met
any.

As an indication, if you want to know what topics web designers are
interested in go to a list apart [1] or look at CSS garden [2]. There
you will find that yes, designers understand menus as list, and that
probably a lot of designers understand HTML/CSS better than you think.


> I still think it's possible, just not in the present form.  For example, getting
> a designer (who is concerned with pixels rather than data organization) to
> understand what HTML really is... is a waste of time... BUT it's possible, if
> you work WITH rather than against.
> Take the following as an example (it's not really a proposal): If the markup
> were so that all tags were equal (think <span>,<a>,<img>,<input>, and a handful
> of others as the only tags not depricated), and an attribute ("datatype") were
> to describe the data in more casual terms of what it contains ("quote",
> "citation", "navigation", "paragraph", etc. it's much more intuitive.  What's
> actually being done is allowing for design to be done only through CSS, hiding
> bullets in lists, making lists horizontal for the purpose of a nav, no more
> block level/inline elements to confuse, and no worries about markup
> "correctness".  At this point as long as you follow the xml-like rule of
> nesting tags nicely... your golden.  Afterwards one can go and describe the
> data, for SEO/Effective practices by using the datatype attribute.
> This makes for a more practical approach.  A designer is often the one creating
> the html for a web page.  Daniel is right... They don't care that a menu is
> technically a list, or
> that text is a paragraph, and not just a chunk of text with <br> thrown between.

This is speculation. Have you got any evidence to back this up?

>  They won't bother to think that way.  Programmers who do think that way often
> can't fix these mistakes.  So it's a lost cause.

Maybe it's the programmers who are screwing up the markup as they are
the ones writing the PHP, .Net, Rails, ColdFusion, etc that eventually
comes out as HTML . Have you seen the nonsense markup that .Net's web
controls produce? Seems to me programmers just as likely to be
responsible for poor markup than anyone else.

> If this approach were adopted, it would be easy to go back and define something
> as a header, footer, menu, quote, etc. etc. without disturbing the design.
>
> In the past this approach was in the reverse... separate the design out from the
> data model.  What should be done is separate the data model out from the design.
>
> As long as we have problems such as adding a header (<h1>) changes fonts
> around... it will be a mess.  As long as we have obscure markup <q>, it will be
> under utilized.  Despite the efforts of css, there is still design in HTML.
>
> Just my $0.02.  Daniel is right, it hasn't worked, and won't work.  But I don't
> think hope is lost.  The problem is that it doesn't work with a typical web
> development workflow.

What is a " typical web development workflow"?

> Content on the web isn't created by geeks, it's created by a more and more broad
> group.  That needs to be understood.

I could not agree more;-)

-- 
Marcos Caceres
http://datadriven.com.au

[1] http://alistapart.com/
[2] http://www.csszengarden.com/
Received on Sunday, 18 March 2007 04:51:26 GMT

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