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Re: Against 'start' and 'value' attributes

From: Etan Wexler <ewexler@stickdog.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 12:45:44 -0800
To: Daniel Glazman <glazman@netscape.com>, www-html@w3.org
Message-id: <BA938AC4.4F1%ewexler@stickdog.com>

Daniel Glazman wrote to <mailto:www-html@w3.org> on 10 March 2003 in "Re:
Against 'start' and 'value' attributes"
(<mid:3E6CAF6E.5000902@netscape.com>):

> you tell me that my argument is not
> relevant because users may [also] want to type lists [that] do not
> represent a range. I agree; but that does not suppress the fact they
> also may want to do ranges!

Should we have one mechanism for contiguous ranges and another for
interrupted sequences? I'm not insisting on a negative answer, but the
principle remains that what is considered content should be encoded as
content in the document language. An attribute is not content.

> In an ideal world, we would have IDREFs and CSS styles allowing to do
> everything.

Well, something like that. I don't want to limit lists to continuing from
elements in the same document, so I would choose URI references over IDREF.
And while I would be happy to see CSS learn to deal with references, I want
to clarify that no formalized style sheet language is necessary for proper
presentation of links.

>> And, without a doubt, people will use XHTML 2 to comment on
>> print-only documents. Numbering therefore remains a real concern.
> 
> Woof. From 1991 until now, the number of "without a doubt" predictions
> that finally became true is imho very limited...

Your point is humbly received. Nevertheless, I stand by my prediction.
You'll notice that I predicted existence, not prevalence.

>> In pure hypertext, numbering typically is presentational. The
>> machine-readable link forms the stable basis of the reference mechanism
>> available to the user. The particular numbers used as labels become
>> unimportant; even if the numbers change in the original, the change
>> propagates effortlessly through all affected documents.
> 
> That's far too idealistic.

I failed to convey my intent. I used the word "pure" to mean that the
described state will probably not be widespread. I have no illusions that
every author will write well for hypertext.

> Imagine a list of questions but they don't
> have IDs, you can't target them.

That's a downright tragedy. A major failure of the Web as we have known it
is that it is necessary that authors include special markup to allow
fragment references.

> You can't modify that because that part
> of the document is readonly. What do you do ?

If you meant "you" literally, as in "Etan Wexler", I would make reference by
mentioning subjects. If each question had a heading, I would use the heading
text. If no headings existed, I would summarize the questions.

If you meant "you" as in "one", I suppose that people would typically use
numbers, if present in the list of questions. Otherwise they would refer to
the subjects.

-- 
Etan Wexler: crippled, insane, retarded, invalid, lame, paralyzed, blind,
spastic, crazy.
 <mailto:ewexler@stickdog.com>
Received on Tuesday, 11 March 2003 15:46:15 GMT

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