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Re: What's wrong with <object>?

From: Stephanos Piperoglou <stephanos@hol.gr>
Date: Wed, 21 Aug 1996 23:25:57 +0300 (EET DST)
To: Lee Daniel Crocker <lee@piclab.com>
cc: www-style@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.95.960821230158.154B-100000@trillian.hol.gr>
On Wed, 21 Aug 1996, Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:

> While I have no particular objection to the "altimage:" style
> attribute, isn't that already the semantics of nested <object>s?
> 
> <h3><object type="image/png" src="FrobCoLogo.png">
> FrobCo Industries
> </object></h3>
> 
> As far as a search engine is concerned, the content of the header
> is the text "FrobCo Industries", which is correct, and an image-
> aware browser will use the image.

The question here posed is, I find, incredibly interesting. Let's forget
about the proposal I made and everything and let's look at the goals of the
various langages:

HTML is a markup language used to structure and classify information
accessible via HTTP and linked with other relevant information. Ideally it
would be just that.

CSS1 (well, and DSSSL too) are a way of specifying a preffered rendering of
this information on visual displays (I still can't understand why the
maintainers of CSS1 want to expand it into braille renderers and speech
synthesizers)

Object is an element of HTML used to embed (bad choice of words? :-)) a
rectangular object of any kind into an HTML document.

I now realise that the problem I was trying to face with the proposal was
that inserting a rectangular object of any kind into an HTML document can
not be classified under content or presentation; it can be either.

Having a Java applet that does fancy scrolling on some text is clearly
presentation. Having a Javaapplet that presents a query form for a database
or produces stock quotes is clearly content.

Most of the time, the distinction is pretty clear. But still, the problem is
that you can't classify the OBJECT tag or its ancestors like APPLET and IMG
into either of the two categories, hence either of the two languages,
exclusively. It's not a matter of practicality; it's a matter of concept.

Also, there is another question. What is inline and what is just at the
other end of a hyperlink, and why? It could be argued that all images should
be rendered as hyperlinks when presentation is irrelevant, hence we do away
with the whole discussion, since OBJECT would cover us. But why IMG then in
the first place, and why OBJECT? And, since I can specify an image as the
other end of a hyperlink, how come I can't do the same for a Java Applet?
And, more importantly, since there are so many Java applets that are out
there that serve a purpose totally independant of their inline display in an
HTML document, how come there is no way to run a Java applet outside the
context of HTML but through HTTP?

The reaon I was prompted to make the suggestion I made was not one of
practicality. As pointed out above, OBJECT will do the job fine as far as
that goes, providing alternate content which is part of the HTML document
and can be marked accordingly. The question is that all OBJECTs are either
presntation or content, but not both, yet exist only in HTML. Including an
equivalent to OBJECT in CSS is a solution, though it seems incredibly
far-fetched to me. Does anyone have any ideas on the subject? I'm sure that
the people at W3C have thought about this at some point, can they offer some
eenlightenment?
= Stephanos Piperoglou = stephanos@hol.gr = http://users.hol.gr/~stephanos/ =
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Received on Wednesday, 21 August 1996 16:27:25 GMT

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