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Re: [XHTML2] Unicode line and paragraph separators

From: Tantek Çelik <tantek@cs.stanford.edu>
Date: Sat, 05 Apr 2003 12:38:49 -0800
To: Ernest Cline <ernestcline@mindspring.com>, <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BAB47E7B.23C76%tantek@cs.stanford.edu>

On 4/5/03 10:38 AM, "Ernest Cline" <ernestcline@mindspring.com> wrote:

> 
> On 5 Apr 2003 at 13:44, Michael wrote:
> 

<snip/>

>>> As for "bad" pages that use <br/> instead of appropriate semantic
>>> markup, all that will happen if the <l></l> markup is used in XHTML2
>>> is that authors (and authoring agents) that now use <br/> instead
>>> of semantic markup will use <l></l> instead of semantic markup. You
>>> can lead a monkey to a typewriter, but you can't make him write
>>> Shakespeare.
>> 
>> I believe <br/> and <l/> would not have the same effect.
>> 
>> Hello, world!<br/>
>> Goodbye, world!
>> 
>> Hello, world!<l/>
>> Goodbye, world!
>> 
>> In the first example, the <br/> simply ends the line. In the second
>> example, there is a blank line separating the two lines of text.
> 
> I guess that in the desire to be brief, I wasn't being clear.
> 
> My point was that authors and authoring agents who wrote web pages like
> this:
> <p>
> My three favorite things are:<br/>
> One<br/>
> Two<br/>
> Three<br/>
> </p>
> 
> would if <l></l> were to replace <br/> then they would write web pages
> like this:
> 
> <p>
> <l>My three favorite things are:</l>
> <l>One</l>
> <l>Two</l>
> <l>Three</l>
> </p>
> 
> instead of the semantically appropriate:
> 
> <p>
> My three favorite things are:
> <ul>
>   <li>One</li>
>   <li>Two</li>
>   <li>Three</li>
> </ul>
> <p>

Looks more like an <ol>, but your point is made.

> Therefore, switching from <br/> to <l></l> or &ls; will not cause
> poorly written pages to be done any better.  They will only cause them
> to be done differently.

This is true, except for the fact that even when people start using XHTML2,
they will start by writing "backwards compatible" XHTML2.  I know, such a
notion is quite unpopular perhaps in this forum, but the reality is that
there is less of a chance for <l></l> to be misused simply because (at
first) it won't be widely supported enough for it to be misused.

So there will be a window of time when people *might* start switching to
using some of the more semantic XHTML elements while they are transitioning
to XHTML2.


> Either solution will avoid the problems
> associated with an element that can only be empty.

True, this is a general problem, I believe Todd Fahrner characterized it as
"Separators considered harmful" (in reference to both <br/> and <hr/> from
structural and semantic viewpoints).


> As for which is the
> better solution, that depends upon how often <l> would be used to do
> more than just separate lines.

Hopefully it will be used to actually markup lines:

<blockquote>
 <l>Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!</l>
 <l>Thou talk'st of nothing.</l>
</blockquote>

rather than just separate them:

<blockquote>
 Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!<l/>
 Thou talk'st of nothing.
</blockquote>

Of course <l> would be more "author/source-friendly" in SGML than XML since
the close tag could be made optional:

<blockquote>
 <l>Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace!
 <l>Thou talk'st of nothing.
</blockquote>

but that bridge was burnt long ago.

Tantek
Received on Saturday, 5 April 2003 15:37:53 GMT

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