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Re: Header, Footer, and Sidebars

From: Terry Crowley <tcrowley@oz.net>
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 1997 23:33:18 -0800
To: "'W3C Style List'" <www-style@w3.org>, "Liam Quinn" <liam@htmlhelp.com>
Message-ID: <01bcfbcf$e5309660$5c619ad0@trc-home>

>No, visual tools led to <i> meaning emphasis and <b> meaning strong
>emphasis.  I agree that visual authoring tools have had a negative impact
>on HTML, but I don't think this will necessarily be true with style sheets
>since non-aural style sheets are inherently visual.  There is no meaning
>behind font-style: italic, just a simple presentational suggestion.
>
>Visual tools still aren't suitable for someone who doesn't understand that
>what you see isn't what others get on the Web.  CSS Positioning can be
>especially problematic for authors who don't understand this.


Uh, guys?  Spend any time reading nice, hand-written HTML created without
visual authoring tools?  Visual authoring didn't give us 1 pixel transparent
GIF
spacers or 640 pixel fixed-width tables or any of a host of other
bastardizations.
The nested table hack to achieve absolute positioning that's used by
Microsoft Publisher or NetObjects Fusion is a hack, but not any worse than
the hand-written stuff you see out there.  And in a release or so you'll be
able
to turn a switch and that will all be done with CSS positioning.

The "negative impact" you're suggesting is non-existent.  The fact that the
"semantic" content of so many pages is wrapped together into and with the
presentation information is because 1) there was no other way to control
presentation prior to CSS, 2) CSS-capable browsers still hold a limited
share of the browser market (and the actual limitations of the CSS
implementations
are legion), 3) and more basically, many/most authors still don't "get"
semantic
markup.

Go ahead and talk to some friend who's not deep into this area and try to
convince them why they should care whether strong means bold or bold
means strong when they're just trying to write their damn page and get it
up on the web.  I'm not disagreeing that the distinction is
important/useful,
I'm just suggesting that you'll have a hard time convincing the great
unwashed masses that this is the case or that they should be using a tool
that requires them to decide whether they're trying to provide emphasis or
strong emphasis.

On the other hand, on a rather bizarre tangent, here's my current favorite
presentation/semantic markup example.  Here's a recipe:

<RECIPE>
<TITLE>Biscuits</TITLE>
<INGREDIENTS>
<INGREDIENT><QTY>2 CUPS</QTY><ITEM>flour</ITEM></INGREDIENT>
...etc...
</INGREDIENTS>
<PREPARATION>
<STEP>Mix together dry ingredients</STEP>
...etc...
</PREPARATION>
<NOTE>Serve hot with jelly!</NOTE>
<SERVES>8</SERVES>
</RECIPE>

With this markup, I could present it on the screen, print it out, double the
recipe, produce a grocery list, determine the nutritional value, etc...
Much easier to get across the distinction than for your typical web
page/memo
etc.

Hey, has anyone put together an XML DTD for recipes?

Terry Crowley

(MS FrontPage Editor Lead)
Received on Friday, 28 November 1997 02:29:49 GMT

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