structural markup

Thomas Breuel (tmb@best.com)
Wed, 24 Jul 1996 01:45:02 -0700


Date: Wed, 24 Jul 1996 01:45:02 -0700
From: Thomas Breuel <tmb@best.com>
Message-Id: <199607240845.BAA13166@shellx.best.com>
To: www-html@w3.org
Subject: structural markup

    William F. Hammond writes in <199607192237.SAA25716@phoebe.math.albany.edu>:
    >5.  HTML is not really very "structural".  For example, the SENTENCE
    >    is not something that is recognized in HTML.  Does it make sense
    >    to make HTML-Math more structural than HTML overall?
    
    Yes, it does.  

Math proposals need to be evaluated on their own merit, not relative
to whether they are more or less structural than the rest of HTML.
The purpose of structural information in HTML/SGML is to allow better
indexing/searching, and to allow formatting across a wide range
of devices.  On the other hand, requiring extra structural information
makes it harder and much costlier to input and to convert
existing documents.  You have to strike a balance; more structural
markup isn't intrinsically better.
    
    Eventually, HTML will give way to full SGML, and use of vi(1) and
    other non-GUI editors (for non-casual editing) will give way to
    GUI, HTML/SGML-aware editors that will enable easier use of
    structural markup.  

The fact remains that requiring more structural markup
results in higher costs for input and conversion, relative to
less structural markup.  Tools only affect the baseline.

There is no reason to believe that GUI tools will make
structural input for math so easy that the cost becomes
negligible; in fact, based on my experience with GUI and
non-GUI tools for math input, if anything, the opposite
is true.

Thomas.