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Re: ISSUE-34 (commonality): Can we get access to tools that determine how often markup is used on the web?

From: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>
Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2008 10:15:11 -0600
Message-ID: <47B5BA8F.2000909@mit.edu>
To: Karl Groves <karl.groves@ssbbartgroup.com>
CC: HTML Issue Tracking WG <public-html@w3.org>

Karl Groves wrote:
> I agree with you that "An element that is never used in the correct way has
> no value to the user", but I disagree that this should necessitate modifying
> the spec to merely do away with items which have real value.

I don't think I saw anyone claiming that the point of usage surveys is 
necessarily to find things to remove.

The point of usage surveys is to see what authors are doing and how they are 
doing it, as well as what aspects of HTML they are using (and how) and not using.

Knowing what the authors are trying to accomplish makes it easier to _add_ 
features that let them achieve their goals while at the same time improving 
accessibility and the user exprience (e.g. replacing inaccessible script with 
more accessible declarative markup that is enough simpler that authors will use it).

Knowing what things are being used (and how much) that are technically 
violations of the existing HTML4 specification is useful in trying to determine 
whether they should remain violations.

Now if something that's been specified for years is indeed not being used, then 
it's worth removing it.  But "not being used" needs to be a pretty high bar, 
given the number of web pages out there.  For example, something used by 1% of 
websites is most certainly being used.

> Improper markup
> is the developer's fault, not HTML's. At some point, the developer needs to
> take responsibility for his own shortcomings.

While true, if HTML doesn't allow the author to achieve his goals with proper 
markup, _that_ is squarely a shortcoming of HTML.  Note that the goals might 
include simplicity of markup.

-Boris
Received on Friday, 15 February 2008 16:14:52 GMT

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