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RE: hand authoring web pages (was Re: Exploring new vocabularies for HTML)

From: Waters, Michael, Springer US <Mike.Waters@springer.com>
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2008 11:59:42 -0400
Message-ID: <F9A426730B49D8489A32B966BBF03D570B44251C@NY-EX001.springer-sbm.com>
To: "Neil Soiffer" <Neils@dessci.com>, "Ian Hickson" <ian@hixie.ch>
Cc: "Bruce Miller" <bruce.miller@nist.gov>, "Sam Ruby" <rubys@us.ibm.com>, "Robert Miner" <robertm@dessci.com>, "Henri Sivonen" <hsivonen@iki.fi>, "David Carlisle" <davidc@nag.co.uk>, <public-html@w3.org>, <www-math@w3.org>

> However, without real facts, it is hard to see how hand authoring can be considered
> a priority.  Our personal experiences are just not informative of what the majority
> of users do.

I don't have any facts or statistics on how prevalent hand authoring might be. However, it seems to me that, nowadays, if anyone is actually composing (not tweaking) a marked-up document without the use of keyboard shortcuts or a keyboard macro package (like Texter) or a GUI editor's menu or even speech-enabled macros, is wasting their time. Come on, the technologies are there--use them.

The thought of hand authoring MathML OR TeX is out of the question for me. I can't see how anyone would even consider that an option, given the available tools out there. With that in mind, to compare the verbosity of MathML vs. TeX using character counts is misleading at best. In fact, over the years I've heard the same complaint about the verbosity of LaTeX vs. TeX dialect XYZ.

Sorry, if I'm creating or editing a TeX document with 200 occurrences of \longrightarrow, I'm not actually going to type "\ l o n g r i g h t a r r o w" 200 times and wait for the compiler to issue warnings on the 11 of those 200 instances that were misspelled. The same thing applies to HTML or MathML documents. I don't type in the coding for an HTML table, and I don't type in the coding for a MathML fraction. Why bother?

I'm sure everyone uses a spell checker to make their lives easier, instead of using a dictionary. For tasks that are that much harder, why not make it easier: use the right tool at the right time.

Mike
Received on Tuesday, 1 April 2008 16:00:10 GMT

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