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Re: XHTML 2.0 - dfn : Content model and usability (PR#7832)

From: Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2006 23:37:31 +0300 (EEST)
To: "'www-html@w3.org'" <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.64.0603272330050.29675@korppi.cs.tut.fi>

On Mon, 27 Mar 2006, Ian Hickson wrote:

>> After all, what matters - for purposes like developing browsers and
>> search engines - is the probability that you can actually locate
>> defining occurrences by looking at markup for them (at present, <dfn>
>> and <dt>). Even if you get a large amount of information that way, is it
>> enough if it is just a small fraction of pages that actually define
>> things?
> Most of the Web is presentational.

For some values of words, perhaps.

> You can't use _any_ of HTML's semantics
> to unambiguously get data out of the Web in the manner you describe.

Well, that was my point, more or less.

>> If browsers used _different_ default styling for <dfn>, <cite>, and
>> <var>, the message would be much clearer, and authors might have been
>> more interested in using such markup.
> Authors can set different styles in a stylesheet.

They can style without such markup, too, e.g. using <span class="..."> as 
they often do. In either case, they cannot expect that the markup as such 
has much useful impact - it's just something to stick styles to. In fact, 
using <span class="..."> has the positive impact that you don't get any 
fancy default styling on browsers that ignore your styles _or_ apply their 
default styles _in addition to_ your style.

>>> <dfn> etc., give the potential for machine processing
>> But it has not been used.
> It's been used on millions of pages.

The potential has not been used, and there is little reason to think that 
XHTML 2.0 would change this. And even millions of pages would not help 
much if that means that only, say, one out of a hundred of defining 
occurrences of terms has been marked up with <dfn>.

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
Received on Monday, 27 March 2006 20:37:41 UTC

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