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Re: XBL is (mostly) W3C redundant, and CSS is wrong W3C layer for semantic behavior *markup*

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 2003 14:23:02 +0000 (GMT)
To: Shelby Moore <shelby@coolpage.com>
Cc: "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.21.0301021351220.7482-100000@dhalsim.dreamhost.com>

On Wed, 1 Jan 2003, Shelby Moore wrote:
>
> At 03:13 AM 1/2/2003 +0000, Ian Hickson wrote:
>> So would you agree with the following definitions?
>>
>>   Semantics
>>      The intrinsic meaning of an element, [...].
>>
>>   Intrinsic
>>      Of or relating to the essential nature of a thing.
>>
>>   Essential nature of an element
>>      Its tag name.
> 
> Actually I can not agree that the essential nature of element _is_ its tag
> name, because that is static.

And that is the fundamental thing we disagree with.


> The essential nature is the _interpretation_ of the tag name.

That cannot be the case, because it implies that an element's
essential meaning can change based on who is reading the markup, while
the _entire point_ of semantic markup is that the meaning is well
defined independent of the reader.

(Not to mention that your statement is an oxymoron -- something's
essential nature is orthogonal to its various interpretations.)

If a document contains an <html:h1> element, then that is the header
in that document, whatever twisted things may be done to it.

That is how we can have specifications like HTML or MathML, that
assign meaning to tag sets.

From the HTML4.01 spec:

# Each markup language defined in SGML is called an SGML application.
# An SGML application is generally characterized by: [...]
# 3. A specification that describes the semantics to be ascribed to
#    the markup.
 -- http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/intro/sgmltut.html#h-3.1

A specificiation that describes the semantics to be ascribed to the
markup. Not the default semantics, not the interpreted semantics, not
the semantics to assume if you don't feel like interpreting it in some
other way.


> This is what allows new interpretations when defining semantics thru
> binding.

And conversely, the fact that the tag name is what defines an
element's semantics is what ensures that CSS and XBL cannot do
semantic bindings, but XSLT can. CSS and XBL cannot change an
element's tag name at all, but XSLT can do so trivially.

-- 
Ian Hickson                                      )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
"meow"                                          /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
http://index.hixie.ch/                         `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Thursday, 2 January 2003 09:23:04 GMT

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