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RE: Tag Soup (was: FW: XHTML)

From: Arjun Ray <aray@q2.net>
Date: Tue, 7 Dec 1999 01:17:19 -0500 (EST)
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.10.9912070057500.29303-100000@mail.q2.net>


On Mon, 6 Dec 1999, David Wagner wrote:

> How about new browsers rendering Tag Soup as a plugin?  

It's an idea, but it doesn't go far enough.  The word "browser" needs to
have its original plain English meaning restored.  Then, everything will
need an appropriate "plug-in".  The point is to figure out which plug-in
for what, and the answer for that is Internet Media Types.

XHTML has "loser" written all over it.  You can't make silk purses out of
sows' ears.

> Of course, by isolating Tag Soup documents in this way, they will
> render slower and buggier than well-formed documents, just as they do
> now.

The practical issue is not one of isolating Tag Soup.  Tag Soup is here to
stay, period.  The issue is to distinguish anything else *from* Tag Soup.
The simplest way to do that is to identify Tag Soup with 'text/html'.

> Authors will soon realize the really cool XML/CSS/DOM stuff can only
> work reliably with well-formed documents, and start to cut-and-paste
> compliant fragments to make complete and compliant documents.

I wish that could be true.  In practice, the prevailing ethos will be
shaped by the fact that authors learn from and adapt to the software put
in front of them.

> Then maybe we will demand our authoring tools help us in this task,
> with rules checking and transformations to ease the generation of
> different published document versions (for different media) from a
> single source.

You can demand it, but will you also subject the software you acquire to
conformance tests before committing to its use?  To the extent that you're
prepared to denounce non-compliant software publicly?

> One outrageous thing businesses seem to have accepted is the need to 
> constantly rewrite everything digital.  

That's the Microsoft Way.  The short run rules.  Your job is to get
promoted so that the "inevitable upgrade" is the next guy's problem.

> The obvious solution is a central document management system [...]
> with permanent source files [...] and transformations from these [...]
> Does this make good business sense, or am I missing something?

Yes, and yes.  You have to convince your PHB, whose perceptions have been
molded by the magazine articles he read.  Which means, you have to hope
that the Fourth Estate has even the slightest semblance of a clue.


Arjun
Received on Tuesday, 7 December 1999 00:54:06 GMT

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