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Re: Headline: Styles pondering desertion to Content!

From: <olafBuddenhagen@web.de>
Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2004 00:55:52 +0100
To: www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <20040313235552.GD783@sky.local>

Hi,

On Sat, Feb 07, 2004 at 12:00:56PM -0600, Wingnut wrote:

> Notice I worry more about teacher-inserted comments with an arrow
> pointing to where the teacher wants it to apply...

I'll pick out this one, as it looks like a good example to demonstrate
the idea of semantical markup: What you actually want to do here is
inserting some remark pertaining to a particular position at the
original text. So you just insert the remark *at that location*,
enclosed inside some <correction> element to seperate it from the
original text.

Putting the mark on the border and pointing to the actual location it
referrs to by means of an arrow, is only a matter of presentation. This
could be handled by a powerful styling language. (Mabye XSL can do the
trick, I don't know.)

Note that the information you want to give your students is *not* "there
is some text at the margin and an arrow pointing from this text to some
place inside your original text"; it's rather "I have these remarks
about that part of your text". So why not say this in the markup? The
way this information is then presented, is a secondary issue.

> I suppose there's no way merge SVG and XHTML forever, browser-wise,
> spec-wise, and societal-thinking-wise, eh?  Having SVG commands
> smoothly "built-into" HTML would be a dream come true for me...

Acutually, this kind of integration is exactly what the W3C is pushing
for. If/when browsers will implement it, is a completely different
matter... It won't happen within a year, that's for sure.

Anyway, this is really not an optimal solution for your problem.

> 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".
[...]
> If I need to do all that, I might as well convert the thing to PDF and
> contaminate the world with a few more million of those things.  Ok,
> that was unfair.  I have a bias against non-content-searchable doc
> types. :)

These two paragraphs exatly show the essence of your dilemma. There are
basically two conflicting things you want to achieve.

The first one shows that you (like most web designers) are just looking
for something like a sort of paper that can be electronically
transferred. For that, just take SVG. Or even better, use Good Old (TM)
fax. It offers about the same possibilities in electronically
transferring documents (graphically, without any semantics), but with
considerably less hassle.

But the second remark shows that you actually *do* want to make use of
the advantages the computer can offer; you *do* want the documents to be
content searchable; you *do* want semantical markup.

I completely agree with you that defining a new markup language is not
trivial. It takes a considerable time really to understand the concept
of semantical markup; and even then, designing a new language requires a
good deal of consideration. But it's not impossible. Special interest
groups have created a mathematical markup language and a chemical markup
language. If your concern is as significat as you portray it, you should
be able to form a special interest group for creating a grading markup
language!

And don't worry about browser support. Generic XML and XSL support is
all you need. (Assuming for now that XSL is powerful enough.)

-antrik-
Received on Sunday, 14 March 2004 19:01:53 UTC

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