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

From: Shelby Moore <shelby@coolpage.com>
Date: Thu, 02 Jan 2003 17:29:03 -0600
Message-Id: <4.1.20030102170932.01ce3db0(null)>
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Cc: www-style@w3.org

Elaboration on previous response...

At 02:23 PM 1/2/2003 +0000, Ian Hickson wrote:
>>>   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.

The tag name by itself is meaningless.  Not until you attachment (multiple)
interpretation(s) does it have any meaning.  There is not one
interpretation in the world of any thing.

For example, when you attach the HTML 4 spec, then the HTML 4 parser is
interpreting the markup with that meaning.  Thus the HTML 4 parser is a
mechanism of semantic binding.  For example, it may bind the semantics to

However, HTML 4 is not the only specification that can be attached to
markup.  And even within the HTML 4 specification, there is generality to
re-interpret semantic details.  The mapping from tag names to
interpretation is one to many.  That is what makes the web powerful (and
relevant data model for world).  Actually it is technically a many to many
phenomenon because some tags can be ignored by a binding layer.  In fact,
note that markup (tags) is orthogonal to interpretation (semantic binding,
of which a parser is one example of semantic binding).  Note also this
fulfills my concise mathematical test for orthogonality in that there is
often no exact inverse from one/many to many transformations.

So let me make the definitions more correct now:

Semantics == meaning

Semantic Markup == declaration of tags-- which only have meaning when they
are semantically specified and bound

Semantic Binding = the mechanism of associating (intepretation of) markup
with it's meaning

So thus HTML spec and parser is a form of semantic binding

So thus XSLT spec and parser is a form of semantic binding

So thus CSS spec and parser is NOT a form of semantic binding (contrary to
what Ian wrote below)

>> Shelby Moore wrote:
>> CSS selectors allows one to select elements of markup based on 
>> attributes which are not related to *semantics*.
> Ian Hickson responded:
> As an editor of the W3C Selectors Specification, I assure you,
> that is most definitely not the intention of CSS selectors. 

Ian's "assurance" was false.

-Shelby Moore
Received on Thursday, 2 January 2003 18:28:03 UTC

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