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Re: How about a <notice>element?

From: James Card <jdcard@inreach.com>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 2002 00:41:41 -0800
Message-Id: <200208120741.DAA13091@tux.w3.org>
To: www-html@w3.org

8/11/02 9:48:03 PM, Jonas Jørgensen <jonasj@jonasj.dk> wrote:

>Jonas Jørgensen wrote:
>>> If there is a <notice> element, why not a <abstract>, <summary>,
>>> <conclusion>, etc.pp. element? Where to stop?
>> I don't know.
>I don't see a need for any of the elements you listed, but I think a 
><warning> element, in addition to <notice>, would be very useful as well.
><warning>This will permanently delete the file!</warning>
><notice>The file has been deleted.</notice>
>Maybe <notice> should be called <info> or similar instead?

There seems to be two or three major branches of HTML-based 
"documents". Initially the web consisted primarily of 
marked-up documents: academic papers, reports of various 
kinds, all essentially text-based. This branch is still 
thriving though may seem overshadowed by the other 
"document" types in recent years. These documents are 
primarily concerned with making sense of the text, which 
comprises the corpus of the document.

The second major branch comprises "documents" that are 
primarily presentational in nature. This ranges from 
graphics-laden pages displaying artwork, to HTML versions 
of brochures amd other marketing materials, and even 
includes much of the multi-media content we see. This branch 
is dominated by pages whose focus is entertainment or 
marketing. The most important factor in the markup is not 
whether it makes sense or is readable or valid -- it simply 
has to generate a page that looks good.

The third branch I'll describe as the web application 
"documents". With the addition of forms and scripting the 
web browser became a platform for building the client 
interface for various interactive applications. "Documents" 
don't necessarily have any meaning or content -- they are 
containers for controls of various sorts. For this type of 
"document" also, we don't care whether the markup makes any 
sense or is valid -- we only care that the controls work. 
(There are often also strong concerns about the 
presentational "it-has-to-look-good" aspects like the second 

The <warning> and <notice> elements you propose I would 
associate with the third group (web application). Notice I am 
not saying that any of these groups of "documents" is better 
or purer or more useful than any of the others. The 
classification may help us think more carefully about what 
should or should not be included in XHTML2 and why.

The <abstract>, <summary>, and <conclusion> elements I would 
class as being especially helpful in the first branch (reports 
and research papers). I believe that Bjoern Hoehrmann's point 
is valid though: at what point do you stop adding extensions 
to the language?

There are already more specialized versions of markup languages 
available in each of the branches I've described. An example for 
the first branch might be TEI [1]; for the third branch perhaps 
SOAP. (X)HTML has been a sort of BASIC (Beginners All-purpose 
Symbolic Instruction Code) among markup languages -- an 
easy-to-learn, general-purpose, lightweight tool. It is becoming 
more than that; but how far should it go and in which directions? 

I am pleased so far with what I see of 2.0. I imagine that XLink 
should be included, but I'll reserve judgement on that until I've 
read the XLink recommendation and understand the issues a bit better.

I can see the benefits of each of the proposed elements mentioned 
above but I am not convinced yet that we want to extend XHTML that 

[1] http://www.tei-c.org/

James Card  --  http://home.inreach.com/jdcard/
The wise person restrains his words, and the one who keeps 
his cool is a discerning person. -- Proverbs 17:27
Received on Monday, 12 August 2002 03:41:04 UTC

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