W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > August 1996

Re: Generic Markup

From: Alan Karben <karben@interactive.wsj.com>
Date: Tue, 13 Aug 1996 15:23:54 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: www-html@w3.org, www-style@w3.org
From: Marc Salomon, Mon, 12 Aug 1996 11:29:07
>>Wait a sec.  You said earlier that there was, for all intents and
>>purposes, slim difference in the task of processing structure
>>expressed through GI's or through attributes.  If its the same
>>difference in processing, then how can it adversely affect the
>>deployment of sounder solutions?  

At 12:22 AM 8/13/96 GMT, Gavin Nicol wrote:
>Sigh. Who do you think *really* controls what people implement? It's
>the people creating *content*, not browser writers. If a CLASS-based
>solution is deployed, and a lot of content is created that makes
>extensive use of it, then you have a lot of momentum for people to
>continue doing so.

Having just rolled out our first set of content using css (http://wsj.com),
I can't imagine an easier way to best take advantage of 'CLASS-based
solutions' than by first authoring with SGML tags suitably chosen for the
content. Our editorial team kept writing <byline>s and <subhed>s and
<sidebar>s as usual, and we systems folks just altered the SGML-to-HTML
conversion process to slip some of the intelligence into CLASS.

        Yesterday: <subhed> --> <p><b>
        Today:     <subhed> --> <p class="subhed"><b>

MSFT's implementation allows those who can easily manipulate their HTML
production system to make documents look as good as possible in both css and
non-css browsers. For example:

	p.test {
	font-weight: light;
	font-family: some-naturally-bold-font;	}

        <p><b>This is bold.</b></p>
        <p class="test"><b>This *looks* bold to everyone, but 
             gives the Art Dept. freedom of font choice.</b></p>

Some interesting questions are: Will a desire to take full advantage of css
lead more publishers to adopt SGML authoring systems? Once they have them,
will end-to-end Generic Markup Solutions convince them to send out the Smart
Stuff as well, instead of just diluting and dumbing down? 

Not if all both approaches offer are just two different ways to make
documents look pretty. Those who author content using tags and attributes
that add intelligence to their documents will probably never hit a
formatting brick wall with a style sheet language built around 'one
attribute SGML':
        <div class="FrontSection">
                <div class="EconomyPage">
                        <div class="Summary">
                                <p>Greenspan announced ...

Generic Markup Solutions for browsers won't be useful if the competition
centers around just how content looks. Generic Markup's strengths lie in how
readers -- and not just authors -- could make that content act.


    Alan Karben
    Manager, Multimedia
    The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition
    karben@interactive.wsj.com   http://wsj.com
Received on Tuesday, 13 August 1996 15:22:27 UTC

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