Re: Proposal for an Outlining Markup Scheme For HTML 3.0

Chris Tilbury (C.J.Tilbury@estate.warwick.ac.uk)
Fri, 14 Jul 1995 15:28:29 BST


From: "Chris Tilbury" <C.J.Tilbury@estate.warwick.ac.uk>
To: "Nancy O'Donnell" <nancyo@eicon.com>
Date:          Fri, 14 Jul 1995 15:28:29 BST
Subject:       Re: Proposal for an Outlining Markup Scheme For HTML 3.0
Cc: www-html@www10.w3.org
Message-Id: <EB77325561@forest.estate.warwick.ac.uk>

On 14 Jul 95 at 14:33, nancyo@eicon.com wrote:

> On July 13 1995 17:41 at 17:41, Chris Tilbury wrote
> [snip]
> >  ...                                (do not the natures and
> >  semantics, if not syntax, of a definition list item rule out
> >  further definition lists within itself?) ...

> My question is, should a cascaded <DL> not be defined - at least for
> a second level? For example, if you have a term that is defined as a
> union of two other terms, it  could make sense to provide a summary
> definition of the two subitems in a second-level definition list. 
> Of course, this example assumes that the author wishes to maintain 
> hierarchical groupings of the terms and not simply link to other 
> terms at the same level.

From [1],

  DL - Definition Lists

  Permitted Context: %Body.Content, %flow, %block

and from [2],

  DD - Term Definition

  Permitted Context: DL
  Content Model: %flow 

Therefore, a cascaded <DL> is defined, to an entirely arbitrary 
number of levels, limited only by the capabilities of the browsing 
software.

In the example you give, I presume that we're talking along these 
lines:

Computer
   An electronic device. Computers usually comprise a number of 
   distinct components, including a CPU, RAM, ROM and possibly a hard 
   (or fixed, winchester) disk drive or drives.

   CPU
     The CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT. The part of a computer which 
     "thinks", although this is very much an over simplification.

   RAM
     Random Access Memory. A form of Volatile (non-permanent) data 
     storage. The Computers RAM is usually cleared when the computer 
     is turned off.

Personally, I don't much like this. All these terms are being 
defined, are definitions in their own right, and have no major 
dependence on the preceeding term. I'd prefer to use the <DFN> tag in 
the first definition, and somehow refer to a subsequent definition 
via that, perhaps

<DL>
<DT>Computer</DT>
<DD><P>An electronic device. Computer usually comprise a number of 
distinct components, including a <DFN href="#cpu">CPU</DFN>, RAM, ROM 
and possibly a hard (or fixed, winchester) disk drive or drives.</P></DD>
<DT id="cpu">Computer</DT>
<DD><P>The CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT. The part of a computer which 
"thinks", although this is very much an over simplification.</P></DD>
</DL>

This would indicate that the term "CPU" in the first definition is in 
fact defined elsewhere, and provides a link to that definition 
(although you'd probably do this with <DFN> and <A>; DFN doesn't 
support the HREF attribute).

Looking at [3], though,

DFN 
      The <DFN> element indicates the defining instance of a term. 
      New in 3.0.

It appears that DFN is mean to indicate where a term is defined, 
which strikes me as possibly rather odd, since we already have a 
definition list mechanism (unless you would like to include perhaps 
in a paragraph, a definition, and indicate the term which is defined 
there. Since DFN is only character level markup though, it doesn't 
seem that useful for this purpose...). I'd just add that my grammar 
isn't very good, so I may of misunderstood this sentence :-)

References:

[1] <URL:http://www.hpl.hp.co.uk/people/dsr/html/deflists.html>
[2] <URL:http://www.hpl.hp.co.uk/people/dsr/html/termname.html>
[3] <URL:http://www.hpl.hp.co.uk/people/dsr/html/logical.html>

Regards,



Chris

--
Chris Tilbury, Estates Office, University of Warwick, UK, CV4 7AL
Tel: +44 1203 523523 x2665                   Fax: +44 1203 524444
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