W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > September 2003

Re: client side includes/everything a link

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 07:03:19 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200309160603.h8G63Ki05370@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: www-html@w3.org

> On many pages, a majority of the text is boilerplate or 
> navigation.  If I'm reading a dozen pages at the same site, 

I think this is largely the result of a failure of mainstream browsers
to support the link element, which has resulted in a lack of development
in this area.  Another factor is that designers are never happy 
letting the browser control the presentation (which is probably why
commercial browser developers have not done anything in this area -
they are selling to designers, not to viewers).

Link could have been developed to allow the separation of navigation
of content and navigation, that was the original web design, whilst
still allowing them to be simultaneously displayed and synchronised by
screen media browsers.

> leave the navigation on a separate page, so that I won't
> have to scroll through it before I get to the real content.

If you have to scroll through it, you may well have Section 508 and
other Disability legislation problems.

However, I believe that client side includes are already a feature of
XML, the only problem is that browsers aren't required to implement them.
That may partly be because of the complexities that you pointed out, but
is also because the feature is too powerful, as it allows new validation
rules to be added to the language.  (The facility comes from SGML, but
was HTML didn't support it.  I assume one reason for having them in SGML
was boiler plate text.)  They are external entity references.

(I'm pretty sure that SGML doesn't require the host document to make
sense without the insertions, but I suspect that XML has to be well
formed without the insertions, as the document has to make sense when
they are not substituted.)
Received on Tuesday, 16 September 2003 02:08:43 GMT

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