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

Re: List elements (was: Tree Presented Lists )

From: Jan Roland Eriksson <jrexon@newsguy.com>
Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2001 23:55:34 +0200
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <juimlto690g2276svc8barml0rcs0f0mot@4ax.com>
On Sun, 22 Jul 2001 14:24:52 -0400 (EDT), you wrote:

>On Fri, 20 Jul 2001 10:40:22 -0700
>Tantek Celik <tantek@cs.stanford.edu> wrote:
>> Daniel Hiester, at 22:19 on Thu, 19 Jul 2001, wrote:
>> > Why is it that we don't simply have an element that means 'list.'
>> > Why was it so important to have the markup parser distinguish the
>> > difference between an ordered and unordered list?

That is a question with no answer. Discussions on what should qualify as
a 'Generic Identifier' as opposed to an 'Attribute' is as old as SGML it
self. Now in later times it has become more of an understanding that
_all_ markup is made with attributes, i.e. even what we know to be a GI
is (an SGML minimized) attribute value for some "divine and unknown"
generic identifier.

>> Semantically they are different as others have pointed out, but I wonder,
>> instead of <ol>, <ul>, <dl> tags, why wasn't there simply one <list> tag
>> with a type attribute, e.g.
>>  <ol> = <list type='ordered'>
>>  <ul> = <list type='unordered'>
>>  <dl> = <list type='definition'>
>>  <dir> = <list type='directory'>
>>  <menu> = <list type='menu'>
>Using a "type" attribute to distinguish between different kinds of lists
>is more sophisticated than giving each different type of list a name.

I have a slightly different view on that.

The GI is not a "name", it is _only_ and _exactly_ a 'Generic
Identifier' that has it's semantic value defined in a part of formal
prose (assuming that we are discussing a defined application of markup)

The GI only plays the role of being a "connector", between the places
where it is used in a doc instance, and the formal prose that defines
the meaning of the element that the GI marks up.

It would be "easy as hell" to define a markup application that is only
based on attribute/value pairs, sporting a one and only unified GI as
e.g. '*'.

In fact the 'Architectural Processing' methods as defined in HyTime
looks on markup as being only about "processing of attributes" where
even traditional GI's are handled as if they are only SGML minimized
attribute values.


>My sense of this is that early HTML may have been influenced in this
>regard by Leslie Lamport's LaTeX, a structured typesetting language
>with no enforced separation between content and style,
>http://www.tex.ac.uk/cgi-bin/texfaq2html?introduction=yes .

If I may show off a bit of my ignorance here?

I have always had the thought that LaTex was originally created by Knuth
(something that came out of a programming exercise between college
terms)? What have I missed?

Received on Sunday, 22 July 2001 18:24:23 UTC

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