Date: Wed, 19 Jul 1995 02:24:55 -0400 From: Ka-Ping Yee <email@example.com> Subject: HTML 3: Too many tags! (was re: Psychology and usefulness) To: "Daniel W. Connolly" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Cc: email@example.com In-Reply-To: <199507190304.XAA28953@beach.w3.org> Message-Id: <Pine.3.87.9507190255.A31086firstname.lastname@example.org> On Tue, 18 Jul 1995, Daniel W. Connolly wrote: > In message <199507170434.AAA09521@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>, > Ka-Ping Yee writes: > > > >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...) That would have been ideal, i agree. > 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. I agree with this statement *absolutely*. It is with the same mindset that i look at the list of "Information Type Elements"  in the HTML 3 proposed spec  and gasp in horror. There are *way* too many of them! * CODE and KBD are really no more than instances of SAMP, and are much to specific in application. * AU and PERSON are too similar to merit separate elements; i think PERSON is a good idea, but i'd think more of adding attributes to PERSON like ROLE="author", EMAIL="...", HREF="...", and so on. (I lament that the "mailto:" URL is used currently in many cases where the real meaning is to provide information about a person.) But introducing <AU> would be a mistake, for it invites <PROGRAMMER>, <PRESIDENT>, <FIREMAN>, <BUTCHER>, <BAKER>, <CANDLESTICKMAKER>... * ACRONYM and ABBREV are also far too similar -- though in my opinion, marking up ACRONYM and ABBREV when you already have DFN is about as useful as marking up VERB and NOUN. * INS and DEL are two prime examples of highly-specific tags oriented at vertical applications (in this case legalese). I'd just as soon get rid of ALL of the above tags, except for PERSON. I really do not see the need. Probably DFN would be more useful if replaced by something less specific, like TERM, to indicate merely that a term needs defining (hinting to make it look-up-able). <Q> and <BLOCKQUOTE> are identical in meaning. They should be the same tag. Whether a quotation is presented embedded or blocked out can be specified in an attribute. I'm also frightened at the way the list of "Font Style Elements"  is growing. Though i can see a necessity for <SUB> and <SUP> in cases where they are essential to the meaning, the new <S>, <U>, <BIG>, and <SMALL> are *strictly* presentation tags, and don't really belong in HTML. As per the discussion above on psychology and usability, the smallness and apparent convenience of <U>, <S>, and <BIG> in relation to more useful tags like <PERSON> continues to have me worried.  http://www.w3.org/hypertext/WWW/MarkUp/html3/logical.html  http://www.w3.org/hypertext/WWW/MarkUp/html3/CoverPage.html  http://www.w3.org/hypertext/WWW/MarkUp/html3/emphasis.html Ping (Ka-Ping Yee): 2B Computer Engineering, University of Waterloo, Canada email@example.com | 62A Churchill St, Waterloo N2L 2X2, 519 886-3947 CWSF 89, 90, 92; LIYSF 90, 91; Shad Valley 92; DOE 93; IMO 91, 93; ACMIPC 94 :: Skuld :: Tendou Akane :: Belldandy :: Ayukawa Madoka :: Hayakawa Moemi :: New! <http://csclub.uwaterloo.ca/u/kryee/> Yeah, i finally made a home page.