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[whatwg] [html5] Semantic elements and spec complexity

From: Max Romantschuk <max@provico.fi>
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 08:57:12 +0200
Message-ID: <41930D48.9050909@provico.fi>
First of all: You make a good point, and I do agree with most of your 
claims. There's one thing I'd like to add though:

Matthew Thomas wrote:
> I believe the past 15 years of semantic markup have shown these three 
> things to be true:
> 
> 1.  Most authors Just Don't Care about semantic markup. They'll only use
>     it if it's the easiest way of getting the visual effect or behavior
>     they want in their own favorite browser, or if they can use it to
>     game search engines. (That's why authors use <ul> and <li>, for
>     example, but not <address>.)

I don't think the main issue is about not caring. The main issue is that 
most educational systems around the world do not teach children to think 
about semantics at all. Good visual presentation, on the other hand, 
does often produce positive feedback.

I believe that in order for this whole thing with semantic document 
structuring to work out we need to plan ahead not five nor ten years, 
but twenty or twentyfive. The reason is simple: It takes quite a bit of 
time to overhaul the educational systems of the nations of the world.

I'm not saying that you can't learn this stuff later in life, but most 
authors simply won't bother. If you're taught to think about documents 
from a semantic point of view right from the beginning there's at least 
a considerable chance that better markup will result.

I guess my point is that we need to have a semantically rich (but not 
over-the-top-rich) markup language in existance for it to be possible to 
teach the language to people, children in particular. People acustomed 
to Internet time may think that twenty years is an eternety, but on a 
global scale it really isn't that long a time.

I'm sure some authors won't care in any case. But once there is enough 
content with a sensible semantic structure the rewards will eventually 
start rolling in. And when that happens, the ones who didn't care just 
might.

-- 
Max Romantschuk
http://max.nma.fi/
Received on Wednesday, 10 November 2004 22:57:12 UTC

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