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

Re: WWW: Interoperability Crisis?

From: David Meadows <david@heroes.force9.co.uk>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001 20:32:31 -0000
Message-ID: <016f01c084b4$c418c030$ea1c9fd4@astra>
To: "Sean B. Palmer" <sean@mysterylights.com>, "Aaron Swartz" <aswartz@swartzfam.com>, <www-talk@w3.org>
Cc: <www-html@w3.org>
"Sean B. Palmer" <sean@mysterylights.com> wrote:

> > 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
> to MarkUp. I wouldn't really care if people used correct textul

Don't think about what <img> IS, think about what it DOES. It allows the
inclusion of one piece of content in a specific place in another piece of
content. As you said, the images are just nodes. How is this an abuse of
SGML? What do SGML entities do? How is an <img> substitution any different?

> alternatives...but do they? Also, what I'm I can't see small text in
> and want to enlarge it? I suppose I just have to wait for SVG to come
> along...

It's unfortunate that we don't have a good way to deal with text in images.
Maybe SVG will solve that problem, but how will it do it while maintaining
separation of content and presentation? Alternatively, any text that is
required on your image could be specified in your HTML file and layered over
the image using CSS positioning. But then you're tying your content (HTML +
PNG) and your presentation (CSS) rather closely together, aren't you? Maybe
it's just slightly conceivable that they *have* to be tied together and that
the holy grail of separation of content and presentation isn't the great
idea that people think it is?

> > 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

<object> may be more flexible than <img> but doesn't really solve any of the
"what to do with this picture"? problems. Every point that I (and others)
have raised about images apply equally to objects.

> 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

No. Forced into HTML becuase there was no more effective way of conveying
information that had both textual and graphical content.

> forthought whatsoever. How many people use the alt="[...]" attribute
> correctly? Enough said...

Um... me? :-)

David Meadows [ Technical Writer | Information Developer ]
DNRC Minister for Littorasy * david@heroes.force9.co.uk
Assorted essays: www.themestream.com/authors/87004.html

"Nothing is too wonderful to be true."
   -- Michael Faraday
Received on Monday, 22 January 2001 15:51:01 UTC

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