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Re: Physical markup concept snag

From: <Jukka.Korpela@hut.fi>
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 03:19:56 -0500 (EST)
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.4.10.10001200956080.21574-100000@beta.hut.fi>
On Wed, 19 Jan 2000, j proctor wrote:

> Now I'm trying to write some discussion of why, for instance, STRONG is
> really preferable to B, in the context of preparation for a fairly strict
> internal style guide.

This sounds like a (good) idea related to authoring practices,
i.e. using HTML as currently defined and implemented, so I think
it's off topic for this list. I'd suggest posting the question
to the comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html newsgroup. You might
first try to check what has been discussed there previously. See
http://www.hut.fi/u/jkorpela/ciwah.html which contains a simple
interface for Deja searches. Using the search string
+strong +b +physical
seems to give some relevant hits.

> I can think of all sorts of good reasons that a
> user agent might get something useful out of logical STRONG that just
> can't be assumed from physical B, such as modulating the speech of a
> reader for the blind, but I can't think of any counterexamples.

The document http://www.htmlhelp.org/reference/html40/fontstyle/b.html
mentions the use of B for vectors. I might add that physical markup
in general is suitable in contexts where one quotes some text which
appears in printed medium or on screen and one is referring to
the appearance, e.g. in instructions for using a program.

> The closest I've come so far is a bus schedule, where bold text is often
> used (in the U.S., anyway) to distinguish morning from afternoon times,
> rather than repeat AM and PM all over the place.  But that, to me, is a
> very clear example of an application for style sheets.

Not necessarily. In the context of an entire schedule, one can say
bolding is just a visual indication of something that can be deduced
from the context. But if individual entries are extracted and quoted,
bolding becomes the _only_ indication of whether the bus leaves at
08:00 or 20:00. It then doesn't matter very much _how_ an author
tries to bold. In fact, style sheets do that less reliably than B
(since style sheets can be disabled, their implementations are buggy,
etc.) Needless to say, the bus schedule problem should be solved
at the same level as where it was created, namely at the level
of time denotations. But generally, there _are_ situations where
an author wishes to "make a difference" for the sake of making
a difference, i.e. to indicate that some elements belong to some
group and some other elements to another group. The CLASS attribute
is a way to make it possible to suggest such rendering in CSS, but
there is no _default_ effect on appearance, so it's not comparable
to things like B or I elements. So I'd say there are some cases
where it might make sense to use physical markup for such purposes,
in lack of anything better.

I have some old notes about the "just making a difference" issue,
under the working name "generic colors", at
I'm afraid it's not realistic to think that such ideas could
be usefully discussed in the current HTML development atmosphere, though,
but such questions would IMHO fall into the topic of this list.

Yucca, http://www.hut.fi/u/jkorpela/ or http://yucca.hut.fi/yucca.html
Received on Thursday, 20 January 2000 05:11:48 UTC

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