W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > December 1999

RE: Tag Soup (was: FW: XHTML)

From: Kjetil Kjernsmo <kjetil.kjernsmo@astro.uio.no>
Date: Sun, 5 Dec 1999 13:07:53 +0100 (MET)
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.4.05.9912051248170.1506-100000@rasalhague>
On Sun, 5 Dec 1999, Arjun Ray wrote:

>Yep.  Gresham's Law.

Eh, Gresham's Law?

>markup.  (Like collapsible lists - but what use was that when UL "meant"
>indent and LI "meant" plunk-a-bullet?)  Mosaic's "innovation" was to
>*reduce* potentially powerful markup to a small set of lo-tech, readily
>apprehensible and "predictable" formatting primitives - skip a line,
>indent/cancel, bold/ital/cancel, font size change/cancel, etc.  

Yeah, it is true. I remember thinking that way when I first started to
write HTML 5 years ago. I remember one cute incident that made some
difference: For the first few months, I never bothered to end Hn-elements,
and since H3 looked like nice readable text in my browser (yes, Mosaic), I
had H3 on all the normal text. One day, somebody e-mailed me saying "The
content of your page is very nice, but in my browser, H3 means 1.5cm high
letters". That changed a lot in my understanding of the web... But I
didn't get any real appreciation for the power of HTML before I sat down
to read the whole spec, not so long ago.

The problem is IM(NS)HO that page writers sacrifice usability of their
pages (e.g. collapsing lists would have been great!), so as to be able to
boost their ego by putting all the effort in layout so they can say "My
page is cooler than yours!" I think the WYSIWYG doctrine is to blame for
this situation, everybody is obsessed with mainting control over every
aspect of their pages, instead of being able to say "Here's my page, I
hope you can use it for purposes I could never think of".

I've been thinking lots of times of starting a "Just Hit


Kjetil Kjernsmo
Graduate astronomy-student                    Problems worthy of attack
University of Oslo, Norway            Prove their worth by hitting back
E-mail: kjetikj@astro.uio.no                                - Piet Hein
Homepage <URL:http://www.astro.uio.no/~kjetikj/>
Received on Sunday, 5 December 1999 07:10:20 UTC

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