Re: HTML 3: Too many tags! (was re: Psychology and usefulness)

Chris Tilbury (
Wed, 19 Jul 1995 12:03:55 BST

From: "Chris Tilbury" <>
To: Ka-Ping Yee <>,
Date:          Wed, 19 Jul 1995 12:03:55 BST
Subject:       Re: HTML 3: Too many tags! (was re: Psychology and usefulness)
Message-Id: <>

On 19 Jul 95 at 2:24, Ka-Ping Yee wrote:

> 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.


<SAMP class="code.sql">Select * from Table.Name;</SAMP>
<SAMP class="code.basic">If I>50 Then I=I-1</SAMP>
<SAMP class="user.input">delf *.*</SAMP>
<SAMP class="user.output">Why hasn't this damn thing worked!</SAMP>

>  * 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

Certainly agree with you on this one; Although another attribute 
isn't even needed - you could use

<PERSON class="">Lois Lane</PERSON>
<PERSON class="server.administrator">Peter Parker</PERSON>
<PERSON class="president.dead">Abraham Lincoln</PERSON>

and subclass to your hearts content.

>  * 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.

A small point, perhaps, but in (english) language terms an acronym is 
something quite distinct from an abbrevation, although I agree with 
your sentiment;

<DFN class="language.acronym">RIBA</DFN>

<DFN class="language.abbrevation">CEng</DFN>

and even

<DFN class="language.colloqiualism">*!$@%&@~*</DFN>   :-)
                                 (Hey, I /liked/ the Asterix books!)
would all suffice perfectly.

>  * INS and DEL are two prime examples of highly-specific tags
>      oriented at vertical applications (in this case legalese).

Hmm. Actually, both INS and DEL could be useful in many more 
applications than merely "legalese", where a record is needed to be 
kept of revisions made to a document;

  <P class="abstract">This experiment was into the effects of giving 
  purple mango juice to <DEL date="30/04/95 12:30:03 GMT" 
  revisioner="Mickey.Mouse@disney">thirty white mice</DEL><INS 
  date="30/04/95 12:30:03 GMT" revisioner="Donald.Duck@disney">30 
  laboratory conditioned test subjects</INS>.</P>

Although as they stand, since they convey next to no information 
/about/ the changes, I agree they're pretty nearly pointless, and 
they could be replaced with just a single <REVISION> element with a 
type attribute (type="deletion" or type="insertion")

> 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.

Hmm - I don't think it can. The content model of <Q> is %text[1], 
whereas the content model of <BLOCKQUOTE> is %body.content, %flow, 
and %block[2]. I don't think you can alter the content model of an 
element using an attribute, but I may be wrong?

Perhaps we should all have a "class" drive?



  [1] <URL:>
  [2] <URL:>



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