Re: Psychology and usefulness

Daniel W. Connolly (connolly@beach.w3.org)
Tue, 18 Jul 1995 23:04:36 -0400


Message-Id: <199507190304.XAA28953@beach.w3.org>
To: Ka-Ping Yee <kryee@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
Cc: www-html@www10.w3.org
Subject: Re: Psychology and usefulness 
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Mon, 17 Jul 1995 00:34:23 EDT."
             <199507170434.AAA09521@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca> 
Date: Tue, 18 Jul 1995 23:04:36 -0400
From: "Daniel W. Connolly" <connolly@beach.w3.org>

In message <199507170434.AAA09521@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>, Ka-Ping Yee write
s:
>
>You know, there's some very unfortunate human psychology happening
>here.  When HTML was designed, why did they have to make <b> and
><i> so much SHORTER than <em> and <strong> ?


I'll answer that by passing the buck: I borrowed the tag names
directly from GNU TeXinfo.

If I had it to do over again, there would only be three phrase-markup
elements: <em>, <tt>, and <??> where ?? is b or something like it.
They're short, almost meaningless worlets that mean, respectively,
emphasized, machine-like, and strongly-emphasized. (pretty close to
TeX's <em>, <b>, <tt>, though it also adds <sl> and a few others, as I
recall...)

When I added all those others (<var>, <cite>, ...) I was overly
influenced by my experience with technical documentation.

HTML is a very broad, very shallow, generic SGML application. It
captures common communications idioms, and should not go deeply into
technical documentation strucures -- nor annual reports, nor
advertising idioms, nor legal document structures, nor scholarly
document structures, nor any of the other "vertical" applications
toward which is being pulled.


Dan

p.s. Think Stylesheets[1]

[1] http://www.w3.org/hypertext/WWW/Style/