Re: MCF's new implementation (via XML)

Paul Prescod (papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca)
Tue, 17 Jun 1997 10:30:27 -0400 (EDT)


From: Paul Prescod <papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
Message-Id: <199706171430.KAA20191@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
Subject: Re: MCF's new implementation (via XML)
To: snowhare@netimages.com (Benjamin Franz)
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 1997 10:30:27 -0400 (EDT)
Cc: www-html@w3.org
In-Reply-To: <Pine.LNX.3.95.970616061355.28734B-100000@ns.viet.net> from "Benjamin Franz" at Jun 16, 97 06:47:00 am

> It *does* matter. Even as simple a META data schema as the one developed
> by Sandia National Labs has been badly corrupted in practice. The ORIGINAL
> specification calls for FOUR META elements: 
> 
> <meta name="description" content="">
> <meta name="keywords" content="Internet, net">
> <meta name="resource-type" content="document">
> <meta name="distribution" content="global">
> 
> In practice this has been stripped down to:
> 
> <meta name="description" content="">
> <meta name="keywords" content="Internet, net">
> 
> *Because users didn't understand the rest*
> 
> Examining Netscape's proposal, it is MUCH too complex for successful
> widespread use without automation tools completely hiding it from the
> end user: Its a "programmer's language."

Well, I don't have a problem with automation tools, but you are missing my
point. If users can only understand <meta description ...> and 
<meta keywords ...> then that is *all they have to know*. They link to an
MCF framework that defines those two meta-info types and they use them. On
the other hand, if they are comfortable with more advanced knowledge
tagging, then they can use a more advanced framework.

That's why the HTML analogy is important. SGML allows you to define as simple
or complex a language as you want. HTML is (relatively) simple and has 
achieved widespread use. DocBooks (say) is more complex, and achieves niche
use.

Sure, HTML is still badly written often, but that is not because the power
and complexity of SGML exists behind it: it is because people are lazy. I 
don't know of a simpler markup language, and I don't know of one where people 
don't make mistakes. If you expect MCF to remove people's capacities to screw 
up, then you are right, it is a failure.

 Paul Prescod