Re: <insert> and external entity references (fwd)

MegaZone (megazone@livingston.com)
Wed, 20 Mar 1996 16:46:24 -0800 (PST)


From: MegaZone <megazone@livingston.com>
Message-Id: <199603210046.QAA01214@server.livingston.com>
Subject: Re: <insert> and external entity references (fwd)
To: cmsmcq@uic.edu (C. M. Sperberg-McQueen), www-html@w3.org
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 1996 16:46:24 -0800 (PST)
In-Reply-To: <199603201526.HAA16230@bast.livingston.com> from "C. M. Sperberg-McQueen" at Mar 20, 96 09:10:10 am

Once upon a time C. M. Sperberg-McQueen shaped the electrons to say...
>But your reply, though it provides a fuller list of things INSERT does,
>doesn't yet provide a list of things INSERT does that the external
>entity notation defined in ISO 8879 doesn't do.  It too can be used to
>pass parameters to applets or external processors.  Whether it has
>problems with the kind of embedded info INSERT is designed to deal
>with I won't know til I've had a chance to read the INSERT proposal.

I think an issue is that I come from the networking world (ok, so my 
degrees are in History and Technical Writing, but I'm a geek at heart)
and I got into HTML early because a FOAF was with CERN.  So my friend
kept showing me this "cool new thing" that was coming out.  I got into
HTML early and approached it from a networking use position.  My knowledge
of SGML has grown from my work with HTML, so I don't know the complete 
feature set of SGML.  Even the professional writers I know tell me they
don't know all of the features in SGML - I think it is like emacs, I've
been using it since 1989 and I still keep learning new things about it.
Of course, they keep adding new things to it.  I think the only human who
knows it all is Richard Stallman (cool guy if you ever get the chance to
hang out with him...)


>document is the best way of embedding a Java applet:  it seems far
>better to regard an applet as a structural component of a document in
>much the same way as a list or a paragraph, and to mark its occurrence

I think it depends on what is being done with the applet.  Some of them
are just cutsey things that don't really add content and can be ignored.
the <INSERT> tag will allow for this with the MIME type, though you may
be able to so the same thing in the header tag.

I think one of the reasons for this move is that all of the browsers
(well major ones) already have something like this and users are used to
it.  The <INSERT> tag is just a functional replacement for all the rest,
with the ability to extend it.

While SGML will add more power, and I believe HTML will eventually add support
for arbitrary SGML, we still need to keep Joe Blow in mind.  The paradigm
the average user is comfortable with is having tags in the document and
doing things directly.  If you make it more complex with header tags, 
external DTDs, style sheets, server includes, and the rest, we're going to
start dividing the web and leaving the average person with a powerful - but
complex - mix of paradigms.  From the user interface standpoint I think it
is important to try to keep as many features subject to the same user
paradigm as possible.

And there is no reason that you can't have more than one way to do something.
If there are tags in the body that the average user can use, there is no
reason the more advanced users can't use Style Sheets.

I think a very important thing to remember is that the people on this
list and others like it tend towards the technically savy and advanced users.
It is easy for us to just say 'use a style sheet', but to Jane Doe who just
wants to make her heading red - she isn't going to want to go learn the
style sheet paradigm just to be able to change a line of text.  And I don't
believe that she should have to.

-MZ
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