Re: What are the problems with IDML? (fwd)

MegaZone (
Mon, 19 Aug 1996 14:26:18 -0700 (PDT)

Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: What are the problems with IDML? (fwd)
Date: Mon, 19 Aug 1996 14:26:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: MegaZone <>

Once upon a time Doug Donohoe shaped the electrons to say...
>We didn't "have" to be different.  We chose to define new tags
>because META doesn't really work that well to answer the
>business questions listed above (for reasons explained below).

All you would need is a standardized convention for META use and problem
is solved.
Say <META NAME="document" VALUE="document name">
other meta tags here with standard names.
<META NAME="document" VALUE="another doc">
and the parser knows any tags between document and the next document all
belong to the first one.

You could even make open and close tags to be pendantic.  The point is
it can be done with existing tags without the need to add anything new.

>Not that this is pertinent to IDML as a whole, but the fact is
>that according to the W3C standard, META tags may only appear
>inside HEAD tags.  You can validate this for yourself at:

Incorrect.  You can use META *without* HEAD tags.  Go ahead and validate it
against the DTD - under 3.2.  Take this as the file, note the META and no

<META NAME="fu" CONTENT="bar">
<BODY bgcolor="#ffffff" text="#000000" link="#0000ff" vlink="#b245b0" alink="#2cbfe5">

megazone @server:/home/server/megazone 3>html-check test.shtml
test.shtml ...
... valid

>Where it says that META is "allowed in content of <HEAD>" (and
>nothing else).  Nevertheless, the above is not rejected
>by browsers, so I'll concede this point.

Yes, but you've interpretted it wrong.  It is only allowed in the content
of HEAD - but the actual HEAD tags are not required.

>If you think we deliberately formatted the page to make it look worse,
>then please present a format that looks "nice" (we'll update our

The way you have the lines wrapping it makes the META tags look messier
than they look in the actual file.  Then your tags aren't line wrapped 
the same way, so visually they look neater.

>consequence and is not our point.  Think about writing a robot to
>crawl through each version (IDML/META) and think about what it takes
>to spit out the publisher, page and products represented therein.  

Like I said, all it would take is a standard name set.  These already exist
for existing search engines, as well as catalog agents like the one built
into NS Enterprise Server.  Other agents can deal with META as long as you
use their naming conventions, the same could be done here.

>What are the issues you'd encounter? If you've written a robot you'll
>recognize that the META version is harder because you have to combine
>information that belongs together from seperate META tags.  In IDML,

Not a big deal.  I well designed naming convention would make it a simple
matter of cacatenating the fields until some flag is reached - be that a
'closing tag', the start of another object, a tag not from the convention,
or the end of the header.

>> 2.META tags are poorly suited to specifying products. Some
>>     Identify merchants have over 600,000 products; to catalog their
>>     products using only META is ugly and impractical. We found
>>     that a separate, dedicated tag just for product-tagging and
>>     content-tagging provided greater flexibility and clarity.
>> I don't get this, I really don't.  I've looked at their tags and I
>> don't see anything I can't do with META.
>This is merely an elaboration of the previous point.  You say "I 
>don't get this".  What don't you understand?  Perhaps we can clear 

I don't see any reason to use your tags when META does the job just fine,
is valid, and is proven.

>All I ask is this:  Sit down and think what it would really take 
>to represent 100 products in a manner that a robot could understand.

I have, I've done things like that.  All it would take is a good naming
convention.  I must be missing something because I sure can't see anything
provided by IDML that a well constructed naming convention wouldn't provide
in META.

>No HEAD, is not required (as I stated earlier).  But it is required 
>if you want to use META.  If people aren't using META you're right,

Again, incorrect.

>they are not restricted from doing so.  But why don't they?  Because
>they get no value out of it.  At least with IDML, it offers the

META *is* already used by several search engines and catalog agents.  As
well as a number of tools.

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