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Re: One more time: Words have meaning

From: Elliotte Rusty Harold <elharo@metalab.unc.edu>
Date: Mon, 2 Sep 2002 11:14:38 -0400
Message-Id: <p04330104b9992e321a34@[]>
To: "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>

At 2:37 PM +0000 9/2/02, Ian Hickson wrote:

>We're not talking about what _we_ know. We're talking about what a
>compliant UA knows. And per the specs, that would be strictly nothing.

There's more than one user agent. My user agent may well be doing 
something very different than your user agent is doing. I claim there 
is meaning in the data even if a particular user agent cannot make 
use of that meaning.

You claim, "the class attribute is exactly the same as XML tag names 
in unknown namespaces -- UAs can have no clue what they mean." I 
disagree. I think UAs can have clues as to what they mean. That can 
be hard coded in. It can be derived by Google searches or by asking 
the user to supply further information, or it can be provided by 
expert systems, and this is just a start. Most UAs today may not do 
this, and that's OK. But UAs can take advantage of extended 
information if their developers design them to.

Most UAs today are quite stupid, but that's by design. It's not a 
fundamental aspect of the Web or HTML. For a simple example, that's 
clearly implementable today, imagine a user agent that allows the 
user to select an element such as <SINGER>Madonna</SINGER> and 
request more information on that through Google. It can search for 
"SINGER Madonna" instead of just "Madonna" and thus get more useful 
information back. Or imagine using the Open Directory Project instead 
of Google. Then the UA could search for Madonna within the Arts: 
Music: Vocal: Singers category instead of the entire database. You 
could not do this with merely <span>Madonna</span> because the span 
element does not contain as much information as the SINGER element.

| Elliotte Rusty Harold | elharo@metalab.unc.edu | Writer/Programmer |
|          XML in a  Nutshell, 2nd Edition (O'Reilly, 2002)          |
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Received on Monday, 2 September 2002 11:32:28 UTC

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