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RE: Amaya's as Browser Vs Amaya as Coding Tool (and 7 little ques tions :-)

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2001 12:56:26 -0400 (EDT)
To: <bob.watkins@baesystems.com>
cc: Amaya List <www-amaya@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0108221237250.10111-100000@tux.w3.org>
Please note that although I work for W3C, like the Amaya Team, my
contribution to amaya is small and my participation in that work is even
smaller. SO these are just my personal understandings...

On Wed, 22 Aug 2001 bob.watkins@baesystems.com wrote:

  1a. Either, NOT A LOT OF TIME WAS spent on the Amaya's browser (due to
  shortage of resources or the like),

I believe that not a lot of time was devoted to the browsing functions in
particular, in part as a resource allocation decision.

  1b. And/Or, the browser portion of Amaya, being geared to interpret XHTML
  (XML or the like) would not be expected to interpret older HTML Web Sites
  the same way popular commercial browsers do...

Amaya interprets correct HTML well, but most older browsers have very
substantial amounts of code to interpret incorrect HTML. Amaya hasn't done as
much of this.

  1b1. ...As I understand it, XHTML (or XML) disallows some things that HTML
  does allow, and if true Amaya would likely not be tuned to interpret them...
  True, False or Explain.

Yes, there are some differences between XHTML rules and HTML rules, but Amaya
is designed to interpret correctly written HTML or XHTML, and can handle some
faulty content as well.

  1b2. ...And finally I understand that many site programmers took liberties
  EVEN with HTML standards, and if true Amaya would likely not be tuned to
  interpret them?

Given the resource constraints on teh Team, and the goal of Amaya to work as
a test-bed for implementing specifications, resources are generally not
devoted to tuning Amaya to understand incorrectly coded content. (It is
tolerant now, but not overly tolerant and unlikely to get much more so.)

  1c. Is Amaya intended for XHTML editing or XML editing, or both?

At the moment it can handle a few specific XML languages - some SVG, some
MathML, and XHTML. I believe that it is a goal for it to handle XML in
general.

  THIS IS THE END OF QUESTIONS ABOUT AMAYA'S BROWSER PORTION.

  What hurls me into XHTML at this time is an article I read that seemed to
  put the whole landscape of the immediate future of website programming
  (1-3-5 years, who knows?) and of web design coding languages into a sharper
  perspective. Prior to reading the article I didn't know what to make of the
  "hodge-podge" of languages that lay before us. Nothing seemed clear about a
  reasonable professional course of action for learning. Very briefly, the
  article said...

  A lot of people who had "mastered" HTML were having a hard time getting
  their heads around some the main/key concepts in XML (which, the article
  implied, is really the ultimate destination for programming websites...
  XML). So along comes XHTML (I almost gathered that XHTML was created as the
  bridge that I describe in the following text). It was said to be a "bridge"
  for HTML programmers to get used to living with an absolute rule set...
  being more forgiving than XML (allowing some of HTML's features to live
  on... however briefly)... while also introducing some of the main XML
  concepts to HTML programmers in a way the would make "more sense to them"...
  bringing into focus the reason and value of some of the main XML concepts
  that had hitherto escaped the average HTML programmer trying to learn XML.
  Therefore, it was suggested that XHTML was the ideal language to focus our
  energies on for the immediate future and it would prepare us for XML.

  I WOULD REALLY LIKE TO KNOW IF YOU AGREE WITH THE PREMISE OF THE SUMMARY
  I'VE OUTLINED ABOVE. AND... If you disagree with the above, I would
  certainly love to know what you think "the right way for an HTLM programmer
  to spend his/her time" preparing for the future might be. (And, if you cared
  to take the time, what you think the future evolution of coding will look
  like.)

I actually believe that the future of encoding content lies with tools like
Amaya, where the authro doesn't have to see the source code at all. (Think of
how Word has dominated the market especially since it became a "WYSIWYG" tool
like some of its earlier competitors).

XHTML is a way of havng an XML language that provides the features of HTML -
XML languages can be about anything - and that also works in most of the old
HTML browsers (most of them have lots of bugs, but they are widely
distributed so it is helpful for having people read your content). For people
who are used to hand-authoring, it is fairly straight forward I think to
understand the differences. For people using WYSIWYG tools it isn't important
to even know the differences.

XML is good for writing new types of languages. HTML was good for encoding a
lot of existing content. Rather than re-invent the wheel, it was simpler to
make it work properly on the new systems (imagine the thinking that makes
wheels designed for roads run well on train tracks and you get an analogy of
sorts).

  Also, if you feel that there are others that are more likely to have the
  time (or expertise) to answer this and any or all of the other questions
  here please feel free to simply forward this to them or give me there email
  address. There might even be a white paper or an FAQ that addresses this
  particular issue and the others herein. I'm trying to give you a graceful
  way out if you want one. but if you can hang on just a little longer we'll
  be through.

  THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS RELATE TO XHTML EDITORS IN GENERAL AND AMAYA
  SPECIFICALLY.

  FIRST A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS THAT COME OUT OF THE ABOVE SYNOPSIS:

  2. What is the state of the art in the "real" world? Specifically, could a
  popular browser like Netscape, Internet Explorer or the like properly
  display

  a. ...a 100% XHTML 1.1 compliant website.

Probably about as well as they cope with 100% correct HTML - in other words
most browsers have a few bugs, but in general should cope.
XHTML 1.0 can be rendered by every browser I have used except one if it
follows the "compatibility guidelines" produced alongside XHTML 1.0. XHTML
1.1 introduces some new markup ("ruby") and removes some old markup. But
there are very few browsers with complete support for HTML 4 and as far as I
know no version of Netscape or Internet Explorer has complete support (the
latest versions may).

  b. ...a 100% XML compliant website.

For this you need an XML browser. There are plenty around, but "the big two"
are not very good ones where they actually do have general XML support.

  THIS IS THE END OF ALL QUESTIONS ABOUT ALL BROWSERS.

  NOW, DOWN TO AMAYA AS AN EDITOR:

  3. Do I want an editor that handles XHTML only or one that will handle XML
  as well?

Depends on what you want to write...

  4. What is your choice as the most well developed XHTML (and XML if
  appropriate) editor? (Understanding that you use Amaya for final
  "validation" against the latest specs.) I mean what is the "friendliest"
  editing environment that is still reasonably current with the latest specs.

I use Amaya. Just Amaya.

  5. What did you mean when you said that you could write part of what you
  wanted and Amaya would complete the rest... and is this feature present in
  any other editor.

I mean that I use it becuase it has so-called WYSIWYG editing - What You See
Is (not necessarily) What You Get. Basically I don't have to write any of the
actual code, I just select the structures and write the content, and it lets
me edit it with styles applied so I know what is what. (I make typos. They
are always more serious if they are in the code than in the content. So I let
the tool get that bit right).

  6. Would I be at any particular disadvantage if I simply started working
  with XHTML instruction books and use Amaya as my one and only editor to work
  with? If Amaya alone were not the best answer, what combination of editors
  would you use? [I'm using the instruction books that seem the best... (I
  could email you the titles if you'd like but I don't have them with me)...
  any recommendations you may have about XHTML instruction books would be
  welcome.]

I hope that you can work with Amaya and the Amaya help documentation (I wrote
the bit in there about how to use HTML structures, which I think is important
in this). I am not an expert on XHTML books (and don't have time to read a
lot of them to answer this question <grin/> so I hope someone else can
answer too. Besides, I know the languages well, so my perspective is a bit
biased.

  7. What are the News Letters, Discussion Groups, Books, email lists,
  websites etc. that I could "connect" to so I can continue to grow my
  knowledge of the subjects that we've been discussing.

There are a number connected from the W3C - the best thin g to do is follow
links from teh Home Page http://www.w3.org to the Area(s) you are intersted
in. They will have pointers to lists, specifications, often to tutorials and
guides and tools.

Please remember again these are my personal opinions, and could be wrong.

cheers

Charles McCN
Received on Wednesday, 22 August 2001 12:56:31 UTC

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