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RE: Tag Soup (was: FW: XHTML)

From: Kjetil Kjernsmo <kjetil.kjernsmo@astro.uio.no>
Date: Sun, 5 Dec 1999 18:13:29 +0100 (MET)
To: Arjun Ray <aray@q2.net>
cc: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.4.05.9912051726590.1506-100000@rasalhague>
On Sun, 5 Dec 1999, Arjun Ray wrote:

>But how many people RTFM as opposed to just futzing with combinations of
>tags in their favorite wowser?)

Yeah, well, I had to RTFM, but that doesn't mean everybody necessarily
have to RTFM to understand it. HtmlHelp.com goes a long way in explaining

The problem is all the very bad authoring tools out there, and all those
who have earn big money by writing poor pages and teaching others how to
write poor pages. I guess we would have to educate the educators... 

As TimBL points out, we are in a desperate need of good authoring tools, I
haven't been able to compile Amaya myself (never mind, I love writing by
hand anyway), it may well be a nice step in the right direction. But for
people to use authoring tools like that (as opposed to those outputting
tag soup), we would have to teach people to adopt a different mindset. I
think we would have to tell people how they can do what they first want to
do "You wan't to write meeting minutes? Here's how!" "Personal Homepage?
Start like this" "Scientific Texts? This is what you need to know." Once
they've gotten into it that way, they may have understood the power of
HTML, and may continue to write structured HTML for other purposes as

>> Isn't it just a matter of shifting attention from "what should my
>> document look like" to "what do I intend to say"?
>It may be a bit more than that.  HTML can't be a "one size fits all".
>"Intending to say" something also presupposes the means to say/express it.
>Depending on the semantic domain, HTML may still require a conscious and
>therefore possibly onerous/distracting process of translation (from "deep
>structure" to the generic types it supports.)  The Tag Soup paradigm poses
>no such constraints: the tags are supposed to be *directly* "palpable".

well, you still have to think about what tag will look how...

>> I was too late to experience this... :-(
>Well, it's very inconvenient for the purveyors of fractured fairy tales
>(to the hagiographic if not totemic effect that Mosaic/Netscape/MSIE
>"invented" everything) that archives do exist... Take a look:
>  http://ftp.sunet.se/ftp/pub/www/browsers/viola/

Thanks! I read about it in TimBL's book.

>For one thing, emphasize the *distinction*.  Let Tag Soup have its day in
>the sun.  Give it the legitimacy of a formal spec.  

Perhaps... My first reaction is that I'd rather say to people "folks, this
stuff is dead  'E's passed on!  This parrot is no more! He has ceased to
be!  'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! [...] THIS IS AN
EX-PARROT!!" s/parrot/tag soup/i, :-) and that would be hard if tag soup
gets the legitimacy of a formal spec, I guess.


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 12:13:35 UTC

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