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 16:33:07 -0000
Message-ID: <008101c083c8$51e90f20$e9d993c3@z5n9x1>
To: "David Meadows" <david@heroes.force9.co.uk>, "Aaron Swartz" <aswartz@swartzfam.com>, <www-talk@w3.org>
Cc: <www-html@w3.org>

> First define the objective that HTML is trying to achieve (to make
> scientific documents available on line).

Incorrect: "is" should read "was".Out of the percentage of current HTML
documents (valid or invalid), how many do you think are sceintific? Granted
a percentage are, but not more than 10% I'd guesstimate. HTML is the lingua
franca for expressing anything of a document/media nature on the WWW.

> To properly model the documents, I would need the <img> tag that
> you want to ban. You want me to use <a> instead? But my technical
> articles integrate images and text on the same page.

I'm not saying ban images in HTML. I'm saying use appropriate methods
(XLink/<object>) where possible, or link to then if they do not need to be
embedded in the document themselves. I would have no objections whatsoever
if we were all using SVG... We need interoperability...what if a UA can't
display images?
If you find that using XLink or <object> gives you problems, then XSLT it
back. None of this is very easy to do today, but in the future (near
future) it will.

> HTML, right from its inception, was, according to its stated purpose,
> a tool for displaying multimedia content.

But you said above that it was "to make scientific documents available on
line"? Anyway, images and so forth are just nodes, right? If you use <img>
to bring that node into a document and furthermore *expect* it to be
displayed, then you are abusing SGML because SGML doesn't attach behaviours
to MarkUp. I wouldn't really care if people used correct textul
alternatives...but do they? Also, what I'm I can't see small text in images
and want to enlarge it? I suppose I just have to wait for SVG to come

> It accomplished this task very poorly until graphical browsers
> and the <img> tag came along. And now you want to take
> that away?

I want to stop people using SGML formats inaccessibly. <object> allows you
to give better alternatives because it has a non-empty content type. XLink
is a better format for linking to other object nodes. <img> is just a
terrible tag that was brutally forced into HTML for commerciality with no
forthought whatsoever. How many people use the alt="[...]" attribute
correctly? Enough said...

Kindest Regards,
Sean B. Palmer
@prefix : <http://infomesh.net/2001/01/n3terms/#> .
[ :name "Sean B. Palmer" ] has :homepage <http://infomesh.net/sbp/> .
Received on Sunday, 21 January 2001 11:37:08 UTC

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