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Re: Concerns about the "l" element name <l>

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 2004 11:04:29 +0200 (EET)
To: HTML List <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.58.0411021051040.7268@korppi.cs.tut.fi>

On Tue, 2 Nov 2004, Asbjørn Ulsberg wrote:

> > You might read "l" as "I", but hardly as "i".
> Correct. You might read it as the number '1' as well.

XHTML doesn't use a digit as the first character of a tag name (or, at
least currently, not in a tag name at all). So the confusion might arise
only if the reader doesn't know the basics of XHTML, and then he'll get
confused anyway if he reads XHTML source - the prologue alone will take
care of that.

> > HTML was souped up quickly and eclectically, and it has no consistent
> > policy on this; <blockquote> isn't particularly short.
> True, but why is this maintained all the way through XHTML 2.0? Isn't
> XHTML 2.0 supposed to be a clean break?

Because people still think they can eat the cake and keep it - that you
can make XHTML 2 close enough to XHTML 1 (and classic HTML) to help
authors in the transition, yet make it clean. In reality, if XHTML 2 is
superficially similar to XHTML 1, yet essentially incompatible, it'll be a
typical compromise, which means combining the drawbacks of the "extreme"
solutions (pure extension and complete redesign). It will also introduce a
harmful effect, negative transfer: when you start using a notation that
resembles a lot something you've used pretty long, you will stick to the
old habits out of habit and forget the differences - in actual authoring,
even if you have read a good book that explains the differences (and most
authors won't even read any such book).

A clean break would mean redesign. Forget HTML ever existed. Get back to
generalized markup. Analyze the needs and goals, and design a markup
system that suits them. Only then should you look back at the history and
present of HTML and check whether you have missed some point that had been
noted on the HTML track.

(I'm pretty sure this will be made, but regrettably only after quite some
years, after the failure of XHTML 2.)

> <a> should be <anchor>, imho. No need to cut the last five letters, I
> think.

The "anchor" metaphor itself was bad from the beginning. So <a> is better
than <anchor> because <a> means nothing to most people, so that it's
easier to assign the right meaning to it.

> That would probably be the most common use pattern of XHTML 2.0 as well,
> but I still think tag names should be spelled out as far as possible.

In a redesigned markup system, it would be easy to allow <l> to be a
synonym for <line>, or let them be just different renderings of the same
tag. Then you could use concise tag names whenever you like, and programs
could convert them to full form when desired.

> What's less bulky about <l> than <line>?

Consider a poem where each line is <line>...</line>, as opposite
to the current method ...<br>.

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Tuesday, 2 November 2004 09:05:01 UTC

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