Re: New tags. (fwd) -Reply (fwd)

Chuck D'Antonio (
Thu, 16 Jan 1997 18:17:10 -0400

Message-Id: <v0300780aaf04595e7670@[]>
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 1997 18:17:10 -0400
From: "Chuck D'Antonio" <>
Subject: Re: New tags. (fwd) -Reply (fwd)

Paul Prescord wrote:

>Creeping presentationism (B, FONT, etc.) have made it near impossible to
>argue that
>"HTML [should] remain free of tags that apply only to presentation." The
>beginning and
>end of any such discussion will be: "If presentation markup is so bad, why
>does HTML 3.2
>do it?" Which reduces us to shouting down individual proposals rather than
>making an
>argument based on design, architecture and direction.

You're probably right.  I can't aruge design, architecture, and direction
with most web authors in the face of the authority of W3.  Usually I try
not to take that approach.  Instead I discuss with them the advantages of
using structural markup.  I explain that they can focus on their content
and its organization independant of how they realize it.  I explain that
using stylesheets saves them countless editing if they choose to vary the
presentation of class of document structures.  I try to make it have
meaning for them.

Recall the story from my first post regarding the author who realizes that
they could adjust tabs and margins the whole way through their document
rather than fiddling with individual space characters.  They suddenly saw
the value of thinking of an indentation or a tab as something in and of
itself, not just a clump of whitespace.  Those "aha"s are there for web
authors using presentational HTML, why not try to bring them out?

The other thing to remember is that the people to impress are not vanity
home page publishers.  They're authors, designers, and publishers who
intend to maintain their work as a contribution to the web and not their
own ego.  And they're the managers and executives who could care less
about whether their documents conform to some technical standard but
understand that structural markup saves their employees editing time and
opens their message up to the last ten percent of the web audience who
don't have the tools to view the hottest in presentational markup.  I'm
not bold enough to call that competitive advantage, but many might.


Chuck D'Antonio
Programmer & Network Support Specialist
FAS Administrative Computing
Harvard University