W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > August 2007

Re: Maturity of XML

From: Philip Taylor <philip@zaynar.demon.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 01 Aug 2007 17:30:35 +0100
Message-ID: <46B0B52B.8070307@zaynar.demon.co.uk>
To: public-html@w3.org

Philip TAYLOR wrote:
> many of us would undoubtedly argue that the "stricter syntax rules"
> of XML are positively beneficial and that HTML5 bends over backwards
> (far too far, IMHO) to pander to the inabilities and inadequacies of
> the technologically illiterate.

Why should we not cater for such people, when we do cater for people 
with physical inabilities?

In at least some cases, technological illiteracy and physical disability 
are strongly linked: my father had worked as a programmer since the late 
1960s, and developed some complex (overly complex, I think, but they did 
mostly work...) web applications with HTML and JavaScript; but he had a 
mild stroke about five years ago and now he can barely remember how to 
write a link tag in HTML. He still edits the web pages that he needs for 
his other activities, which sometimes requires editing HTML directly, 
but he can't keep track of all the details that are required for writing 
'correct' HTML and can only cope because it is a forgiving language. He 
was fortunate that he used to have the particular mental processes that 
are needed for a good understanding of how technology works - other 
people work in front of a computer all day but are never capable of that.

I believe it is not true that all the "technologically illiterate" are 
lazy and simply need to spend a bit of time learning - they are often as 
incapable of ever understanding the technology as a blind person is of 
ever understanding a painting. Authoring tools can't be considered an 
adequate substitute for the ability to edit raw HTML - the 
technologically literate have so far been incapable of creating tools 
that are anywhere near being universally accepted, given the number of 
people who still write HTML by hand - so it would be unfair to claim the 
tools are 'good enough' for certain groups of authors, when they aren't 
good enough for the rest of us.

It is not acceptable to ignore the needs of those with certain physical 
limitations when they wish to access information, and I would claim it 
is similarly unacceptable to ignore the needs of those with certain 
mental limitations when they wish to publish information.

Philip Taylor
Received on Wednesday, 1 August 2007 16:31:18 UTC

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