W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > April 2000

Re: "Presentational" vs. "Legacy"

From: Jan Roland Eriksson <jrexon@newsguy.com>
Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2000 01:17:25 +0200
To: Jonny Axelsson <jonny@metastasis.net>
Cc: <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <rotkesg0be2v0d8p31b7361okqn83umidb@4ax.com>
On Mon, 03 Apr 2000 22:55:24 +0200, Jonny Axelsson
<jonny@metastasis.net> wrote:

>At 20:05 03.04.00 +0200, Jan Roland Eriksson wrote:


>>Basically, on the www, the "meaning" of element content in a document
>>shall not be carried in a "required" stylesheet presentation suggestion,
>>it's as simple as that.
>If there is no rough consensus for how an element should be used, at least
>locally, nothing you can do will make the element useful. [D]

Which is a clear cut description of xml. All elements are basically
useless there _if_ the purpose is to serve them "as is" from an
arbitrary server to an arbitrary client.

Just because there happens to be a presentation system available, like
CSS, does not make them any more useful if one wants to understand what
the marked up content actually means.

But you can bet your bottom dollar on that there's already a "line up"
of eager "webmasters" that will go on to do just that.

I'm still waiting for someone to give me an explanation on how AltaVista
would go on to create a weighted index from the content of an xml
document if it finds one on the www.

This is the curse of xml, and that curse is valid for HTML too.
There's no sufficiently clear description on what elements stands for,
and obscure element names helps a lot to muddle up things even more.

E.g. DocBook is nice reading if one wants to see a strong contrasting
example. A vast number of really _understandable_ element names, paired
with a description of "processing expectations" for each one of them.

Side note: DocBook does not have B or I, it has 'Emphasis' though, but
actually goes on to make excuses that 'Emphasis' is often used only to
suggest presentation of its content in italic, even in cases when other
markup might be more appropriate.

Italic seems to be another curse of this section of the world.

I'm beginning to understand what Arjun meant when he said that
maybe we would all have been better off today, if we had a real
standard for "tag-soup".

Every one could then go on thinking...
   <EM>Browser commands, viva, viva</EM>"
...and no one would ever have to bother with trying to understand the
inherent simplicity and beauty of real "descriptive markup".

[yea, I know, my home hockey team lost the Swedish Elite series
 semifinal tonight, and I'm grumpy...]

Jan Roland Eriksson <jrexon@newsguy.com>
Received on Tuesday, 4 April 2000 19:11:03 UTC

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