From: Gavin Nicol <email@example.com> Date: Thu, 8 Aug 1996 02:23:45 GMT Message-Id: <199608080223.CAA15693@wiley.EBT.COM> To: firstname.lastname@example.org CC: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com In-reply-to: <firstname.lastname@example.org> (message from Paul Prescod on Wed, 07 Aug 1996 20:22:35 -0400) Subject: Re: deprecated tags in Wilbur & Cougar -Reply -Reply I don't know if any of you remember my SPAM DTD: <!DOCTYPE spam [ <!ELEMENT spam - - (#PCDATA|SPAM)*> <!ATTLIST spam ID ID #IMPLIED RID IDREF #IMPLIED CLASS CDATA #IMPLIED> ]> <SPAM CLASS="DOCUMENT"> <SPAM CLASS="CHAPTER"> <SPAM CLASS="TITLE">This is a title</SPAM> <SPAM CLASS="P">This is a paragraph</SPAM> </SPAM> </SPAM> I often use this when teaching people about DTD design and what is good markup. This DTD has uses, but I think we all agree that this is *not* the best way to markup important documents. The point with this DTD is that you can represent the structural, and presentational markup in a very large number of ways. At the purest level, the information structures represented are the same, or at least contain the same amount of information (ie. you can translate between them, though in practise, it may be non-trivial to do so). The real point of good markup is to <EMPH>select the data representation most appropriate for the task at hand</EMP>, and as people, and needs differ greatly, the choice of representation should be in the hands of people creating the documents. People snickered when I suggested last year in Boston that tag explosion might just be the best thing that could ever happen to the WWW. My point was that a single DTD, combined with a simple stylesheet language like CSS, can never meet the needs of *all* WWW users. As Jeff Yemin and others have pointed out, that road just leads to the tag set becoming static, and the stylesheet language being extended over and over again. The bottom line for my thought on HTML is that SGML must come to the WWW. However, I think that *full* SGML is probably too much burden on browser writers (ie. even though James Clark has an excellent parser, I'd hate to have to require that all browsers use it). This is the reason why I have suggested that the WWW support something like the TEI subset, which offers a great deal of functionality, *and* can be implemented using yacc and flex. Even if TEI is not used, the W3C should perhaps come up with an *application profile* for SGML, that restricts it to something like minimal SGML with an extended character repertoire, and removing some of the hairier peices (for example, some of the silliness with marked sections and entities).