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Re: Headline: Styles pondering desertion to Content!

From: Donna <marijne@ntlworld.com>
Date: Sat, 7 Feb 2004 19:31:55 +0000
Message-Id: <4A10905A-59A4-11D8-BFDC-00039376F89E@ntlworld.com>
Cc: www-html@w3.org
To: Wingnut <wingnut@winternet.com>

On Feb 7, 2004, at 18:00, Wingnut wrote:
> Yes, I guess I can swallow that one.  Arrow is a "relationship 
> indicating" critter, and in the case where the arrow targets a word 
> within a box model, and the other end "originates-from" some angled 
> text written by the teacher... angled at the same angle as the 
> arrow... that is a relationship too, but between a teacher comment 
> (new data) and a location on the HTML layer (original data).  It has 
> an Z-ANGLE relationship as well as a "semantic?" relationship.  It is 
> visually pertinent in two ways... via the arrowhead's target, and via 
> the rotational attitude and physical position of the arrow's source 
> (the teacher's textual comments).

The teacher comment can easily take the place of the sentence to be 
moved in my original example; it is simply a block of text that needs 
to be related to another block of text. The fact that it is annotation 
rather than original data can be expressed as another "class."

At the markup level, the z-angle is irrelevant. You are saying "these 
are my comments, this is the text/location that they apply to." How it 
is presented is of course important, but that is a matter of styling, 
not meaning. One can envisage a rendering engine that would take the 
annotation-class blocks and use various algorithms to attempt to 
rotate, scale and position them such that they are presented in a 
reasonable way. One can also imagine a system where the sentence in 
question is a simple hyperlink to another document containing the 
comments. Is one more expressive than the other, certainly. Does the 
latter omit data present in the former? I think not.

> Donna, I think you are describing a variation of the "hot dot" system 
> I described earlier.  Its problem is that we lose teacher 
> expressionism, and we lose the "traditional way" that school papers 
> are graded... a method teachers are already well-versed-in.  The big 
> red marker pen. Yep, your idea certainly can be done, though I'm not 
> sure how accepted it will be by "the grading group".

What I am describing, and what markup is all about, is giving meaning 
to data. In the old days, when <b> and <i> ran free, you may have 
convinced the W3C (IETF?) to specify an <arrow> element. However, we 
now (supposedly) mark our documents up to give them meaning; we don't 
consider how it will be presented until later. Hence, <em> and 

What you are looking for, if I understand correctly, is a digital 
look-a-like for your A4 paper scripts. XHTML will probably be able to 
approximate that to a reasonable degree using XLink and classes and a 
styling language... one day. But it will never look marker-pen-perfect 
this way. XHTML is designed to display the data in a document on a wide 
variety of devices. How will your documents be expressed on a mobile 
phone browser? lynx? An aural browser? You may not wish to consider 
these media, but XHTML does, and as a result will not (should not) 
define anything that is medium-specific.

That is what media selectors and CSS is for.

> I think that's what I'm asking for.  How do I get a circular border? 
> Can I put it around ANY text, including text already styled by 
> another?

This is for the styling language to worry about.

> Will a "standard browser" render it?

No, and not for a long time. But there's nothing stopping you writing a 
custom "marked script browser" which will parse the documents you have 
prepared in this way and rendering them however you wish. Or you could 
get XSLT to transform the entire document into SVG. Or you could 
eyeball-parse the bare source.

The point is you have the data, in a "pure" form.

> Heck, I'm scared to try to "define a class" (make an element?), speak 
> not of spending such time on a new element that no browser will ever 
> render, due to lack of z-axis rotation prowess in browsers.... and 
> many other dissuading reasons.

Defining a class is possible (and valid!) with the standard "class" 
attribute. Your stylesheet will then describe to the browser how 
objects in that class ought to be rendered. The involvement of markup 
in this process ends at the class definition, however.

> Arrows, in aural, equate to a teacher saying "Referring to the part of 
> your assignment where you said (subject)",  as best I can tell.

This is *precisely* what the visual arrow is doing. There is nothing 
special about the visual arrow - as I mentioned before, it simply 
captures three items of data: source, destination, and interpretation. 
When you say, "Referring to the third sentence in the fourth paragraph, 
my comments are..." you have captured the essence of the visual arrow 

> Most aural assignments will be graded in aural as well, and an arrow 
> is not an aural thing in its classic use.

Try to think not of an arrow, but it's meaning. Then you will be ready 
to think on XHTML's terms.

Received on Saturday, 7 February 2004 14:41:14 UTC

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