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Re: code and blockcode

From: Laurens Holst <lholst@students.cs.uu.nl>
Date: Sun, 02 Jul 2006 14:40:57 +0200
Message-ID: <44A7BED9.9070207@students.cs.uu.nl>
To: Christophe Strobbe <christophe.strobbe@esat.kuleuven.be>
Cc: www-html@w3.org
Christophe Strobbe schreef:
>>>> As another example, consider ASCII art. It is definitely 
>>>> preformatted. It definitely isn't code, and definitely shouldn't 
>>>> have numbered lines.
>>>
>>> 1. No one ever said that poetry or ASCII art should have line 
>>> numbers. There are use cases where line numbering for poems and 
>>> other literary text are useful.
>>> 2. I haven't seen any ASCII art for ages. It seems like a relic of 
>>> the nineties; web developers now have much better technologies for 
>>> visual information at their disposal. Can you provide three examples 
>>> of ASCII art available on the Web today?
>>
>> Oh, certainly. Your impression is totally off!
>>
>> http://www.google.com/search?q=ASCII+art
>> 1,550,000 results.
>
> Very funny. Yes, my impression was wrong, and I now remember that even 
> some W3C documents use it, but...
>
> 1. You should have queried for "ASCII art" (with quotes): 
> http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=%22ASCII+art%22&btnG=Search. 
> 881,000 results (somewhere between 3 and 1,550,000).
>
> 2. The top results are about ASCII art for the sake of ASCII art, not 
> for any useful purpose. That's why I don't see a lot of ASCII art when 
> I'm using the Web. 

Hi,

Just replying on an old post, I’d like to quote a recent HTML mail I 
sent as a demonstration of the usefulness of ASCII art:

> Currently, the importing of leads into SalesForce is done manually, 
> and only twice every week.
>
>    1            2
> ┌─────┐      ┌─────┐
> │     │      │     │
> │ bb. │ ───> │Sales│
> │ com │      │Force│
> │     │      │     │
> └─────┘      └─────┘
>   
>
> Above you see a representation of the two servers that are involved in 
> this process. At the moment, the person who imports has to go to 
> backbase.com (1) where he exports the leads in phpMyAdmin, then has to 
> go to SalesForce (2) and import the exported leads.
>

and:

> Currently, there are two forms that the user has to fill in; one 
> registration form when clicking on register, and one ‘more 
> information’ form after confirming his registration and logging in for 
> the first time (top).
>
>  Register     Confirm    More info
> ┌─────────┐      ¦      ┌─────────┐
> │Name     │      ¦      │Country  │
> │[_______]│      ¦      │[_______]│
> │Email    │      ¦      │Company  │
> │[_______]│ ──────────> │[_______]│
> │Password │      ¦      │Job      │
> │[_______]│      ¦      │[_______]│
> │     [OK]│      ¦      │     [OK]│
> └─────────┘      ¦      └─────────┘
>         │        ¦        │
>         ├─────────────────┘
>         v        ¦
> ┌─────────┐      ¦
> │Name     │      ¦
> │[_______]│      ¦
> │Email    │      ¦
> │[_______]│      ¦
> │Password │      ¦
> │[_______]│ ──────────> ( Submit to SalesForce )
> │Country  │      ¦
> │[_______]│      ¦
> │   ...   │      ¦
> │     [OK]│      ¦
> └─────────┘      ¦
>  Combined        ¦
>  Register        ¦
>  Form            ¦
>   
>
> The idea of this step is to combine the registration forms into a 
> single one (bottom).
>

This shows how ASCII art is very useful in email to make a quick drawing 
of how something works. (Note that I went a little overboard here and 
used box drawings instead of simply +, - and |’s.) Had I used an image 
editor, it would have taken me a lot more time.

This is how ASCII art is used *very* frequently (as opposed the the kind 
of ASCII art ‘archaic means to draw images, existing for the sake of 
itself’ you were probably thinking of). If XHTML 2.0 is to be used in 
email at some point, the ability to express these kind of preformatted 
text is important to have (and although you may have personal objections 
against HTML mail, there is no fundamental reason why it shouldn’t; 
actually, it would be much better than current HTML mail with generally 
bad and presentational markup, given that only the elements meant for 
structure and meaning remain).

Another example is publishing non-HTML emails on the web. They are 
written in a , so they must be published as such. Nice algorithms can be 
imagined which convert two newlines to paragraphs etc., but being an 
automated process, there is no guarantee that is a correct 
representation of the author’s original intent. So the only way it can 
be presented correctly is by using the <pre> element.

A quote from another mail that you sent:

> I'd be glad to see ASCII art disappear, but I know that others will 
> disagree.

Yes, that would be a shame. ASCII art is a great concept, to the extent 
of creating entire sub-cultures purely focused on ASCII art, isn’t that 
cool? And why would XHTML 2.0 consciously limit itself by removing the 
means for expressing that.


And for the sake of it: it’s more accessible than most image formats.


~Grauw

-- 
Ushiko-san! Kimi wa doushite, Ushiko-san!!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Laurens Holst, student, university of Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Website: www.grauw.nl. Backbase employee; www.backbase.com.



Received on Sunday, 2 July 2006 12:41:12 GMT

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