W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > January 2001

Re: WWW: Interoperability Crisis?

From: Sean B. Palmer <sean@mysterylights.com>
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2001 02:13:05 -0000
Message-ID: <019801c0834f$fb724940$faec93c3@z5n9x1>
To: "Aaron Swartz" <aswartz@swartzfam.com>, <www-talk@w3.org>
Cc: <www-html@w3.org>
> So you seem to imply that it's not a language for creating documents,
> simply linking them together.

Well, you create the documents and then link them together. It comes from
HTMLs rocky path of evolution. It was originally a scientific document
format, but got evolved into Hyper*Media* Markup Language. But no-one paid
any thought with how best to integrate media and HyperText, so they just
thought "oh, we'll embed it in the doucment"... and there you have it. What
if I don't want your crummy image that takes ages to download inserted in
my document? What if it flashes, and I don't like flashing lights, but
can't turn it off? What if I use a screen reader, are you going to give a
text alternative? It wastes time you say? Oh, I see...

> do I drop HTML into my own file formats
> or do I drop my file formats into them?

In m12n? Usually you drop your own formats into HTML (going by the
specification), but it doesn't stop you doing it the other way around -
although in that case you can't call it an XHTML Family, it's my ML with a
bit of XHTML in it, which doesn't have much point. It all depends on what
you are doing; you decide.

> [...] spent hours trying to make my pages flashy and colorful,
> with lots of animations, so I could show off pictures of my cat.
> Now you tell me that after all that hard work, I did something wrong?
> </hypothetical>

Well, yes. By all means link to an video of your cat if you want, but I
don't see why it has to be inserted into a document for when HyperText
links are just as good. I'll bet that most people who want flashy stuff
don't think about specifying alternatives for PWD's do they?

Personally, I'd ban <img> and <script> from XHTML, but there you go.
Doesn't top you using <a> or <object>, does it?

> How else do I make flashy graphics appear on people's screens?

Link to them, provide decent alternatives: but don't ram it down people's
throats. (I for one like cats, so I'd probably look at it.) It should be
the users choice to how they want a page rendered and presented. If they
don't want things flashing "epileptics anyone?" then that should be their
choice. The author specifies the content, and alternatives, and the user
has the final say. <tenet>Presentation should be the choice of the

> If you want most people to do number 2, you're going to have to make a
> side-effect/requirement of doing one.

How do you suggest we do that w.r.t. XHTML?

> Oh, so HTML is a way of adding links to plain text? Why didn't
> you say so? Oh, and what's with all these extra tags -- can't we
> just make the whole thing simpler?!

If by extra tags you mean <b>, <hr />, <font>, <img>, <u> and so on, they
all suck. Still, some have been taken out in XHTML Basic... others remain
in 1.1. I hope that all of them will be gone in 2.0. HTML isn't just a way
of adding links to plain text. It can be a very rich document format... but
you have to be careful. I would rather have something simple that doesn't
look flashy, than something that doesn't work at all.

Kindest Regards,
Sean B. Palmer
@prefix : <http://infomesh.net/2001/01/n3terms/#> .
[ :name "Sean B. Palmer" ] has :homepage <http://infomesh.net/sbp/> .
Received on Saturday, 20 January 2001 21:15:31 UTC

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