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Re: HTML5 script start tag should select appropriate content model according to src

From: David Woolley <forums@david-woolley.me.uk>
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 08:28:42 +0100
Message-ID: <46359AAA.3030202@david-woolley.me.uk>
To: www-html@w3.org

Philip & Le Khanh wrote:
>  From my perspective, a totally rational argument.  How
> many Fortran programmers believe they can ignore the
> syntax, semantics & morphology of the language yet

There has been a theory since last century that there are separate arts 
and sciences cultures.  My impression is that "web design" is primarily 
part of the arts culture and is taught that way, for example, I live 
near the arts campus of a split campus new university.  It's on that 
campus that web design is taught.

For many artists, there are no rules imposed by the medium, only 
technical limitations.  That is not to say that the more sophisticated 
ones cannot also communicate a message.

I think I would actually add a languages division as I've found people 
with (foreign or ancient) languages degrees often make good computer 
programmers, even if they tend to lack confidence in their abilities.

I'm less familiar with the situation in schools, except that web dsegin 
is taught by people who are themselves learners, but my impression is 
that it ought to be taught as part of native language skills, i.e. the 
ability to communicate clearly, but is actually taught as something 
unrelated to that.

(My suspicion is that a child who wrote good structural markup would not 
get any marks for that, and would probably lose out to one that used 
many gimmicks, because the teacher would judge it based on whether it 
looked like a "web page", rather than whether it was well and clearly 
written.  I suspect very few teachers will actually look at the code and 
most won't know what good HTML looks like. Parents may well expect them 
to behave like that, because they don't understand the real skills needed.)

We also come back to the marketing versus communication issue that I 
like.  Marketing, these days is not about precise communication of 
information, it's about branding and controlling the emotions.  Really 
good marketing people probably still do think about how they structure 
material to achieve this, even though they wouldn't want to expose the 
real message structure.  However, especially being a new medium, there 
are lot of people who see  and try to emulate the result, without 
understanding the thinking behind it (and the average consumer is not 
supposed to instantly recognize that, because they could then ignore it 
and look for the real facts).

There is also a general de-skilling issue.  The use of scripted 
languages means it is possible to work by plagiarizing without really 
understanding what you are doing.  In fact computer APIs are getting so 
complicated and so poorly documented, that one often has to simply copy 
the vendors' example code.

> still get useful results ?  C programmers ?  Java
> programmers ?  Any-language-you-care-to-mention
> programmers ?  Answer : almost none.  Yet you seem

Although the results were bad, I have seen people blindly cut and paste 
code and get something that works at a surface level.

> water.  If a real author chooses to typeset his
> book, then he'd better learn a great deal both
> about typography and about the package he intends
> to use.  If he doesn't, then he can confidently

Typesetting a book, given some basic styling rules, is not that 
difficult with modern tools.  The real problem is that web pages attempt 
a level of magnitude more sophistication that that involved in setting a 

If you want to simply communicate, the default typesetting of structural 
HTML is good enough for most purposes.  The horrors result from people 
trying to "improve" the appearence, and often have very little to 
actually say.

> can expect to produce rubbish.  Document markup is
> a skilled and specialist task : it deserves (and

I think that is an overstatement, when the aim is to communicate.  All 
it really requires is that you understand the structure of what you are 
writing.  If you don't really understand that, perhaps you ought to be 
improving your understanding of the subject before writing.

We've had the example of italics for genus.  The original author of such 
material almost certainly is conscious that they are using a rule that 
equates italics with the deeper structure.  The problem comes when 
someone else, say a journalist, or advertising copy writer, tries to use 
the material.

> needs) a language that that allows the person performing
> that task to express himself accurately and clearly.
> Once the markup is complete, another skilled and
> specialist task emerges : converting that markup
> into a beautiful and accessible web page.  They are

Attractive rather than beautiful, and most senior management would 
consider accessibility an imposition.  In a technology based company, 
senior management often do not understand the technology behind the 
product they sell (in a previous job I've met software managers who have 
come up from being coders, who boast about no longer understanding the 
technology,  moreover very senior managers often come from completely 
outside the business).

Any well written text will pass them by, because they don't understand 
the underlying subject, and they will judge the site on whether or not 
it gives them the impression of a company that is up with modern 
technology (even though, to a real technician, the site may horrendous, 
and the technology used in the site may have no relevance to the real 
product, and even though they actually have people on W3C committees, 
but with no influence on the site). As a result, it is not the author of 
the well written text that will have status in the company.
Received on Monday, 30 April 2007 07:29:10 UTC

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