W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > January 2003

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

From: Tantek Çelik <tantek@cs.stanford.edu>
Date: Fri, 03 Jan 2003 13:28:43 -0800
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, Shelby Moore <shelby@coolpage.com>
CC: <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BA3B401A.1DD76%tantek@cs.stanford.edu>

On 1/3/03 8:22 AM, "Ian Hickson" <ian@hixie.ch> wrote:

> On Fri, 3 Jan 2003, Shelby Moore wrote:
>>>> First, we are not only talking about HTML elements. XBL has the
>>>> ability to bind semantics to new tags. There is no specification
>>>> for those new tags.
>>> And therefore those new tags have no semantics, no meaning.
>> Thanks for writing that. I hope everyone reads that. New tags have
>> no meaning according to Ian Hickson.
> That is correct.

I too agree with this position.

>> XBL will add some implementation to new tags, and people will author
>> pages with those new tags, but those new tags will have no meaning.
> People should not be sending any elements that have no predefined
> normative semantics over the network.
> This is one of the fundamental cornerstones of accessible Web design.

Again, strongly agreed.

>> Need I say any more? Why would any one markup a page with tags that
>> have no meaning?
> That is a question very well worth asking, and one which has often
> been overlooked by the XML groupies who jump on the bandwagon as it
> goes past.

So true.  Very sad, but true.  Not just XML groupies, but self-proclaimed
so-called XML experts who have written books on the subject have made (are
making) this mistake as well.

You might say there is even the potential for XML to enable a "destruction
of the tower of babel" like scenario - with thousands of non-interoperable
languages springing forth which communicate some implied (but unspecified)
level of meaning among their micro-communities, but which actually destroy
communication across communities.

But that's a whole 'nother discussion, one better suited for the rhetorical
jousting at www-tag.

Shelby wrote:

>> I can't fathom where you get the idea that someone can or would
>> author a web page without having some clue what the tag meanings
>> are.

I know, isn't it incredible?  I can't fathom that someone can or would
author HTML without having read the HTML4 (or any HTML) specification.  I
can't imagine that anyone would use <b> tags to mean heading, and <br> tags
to mean paragraph separator (which are of course, not the "meanings", if
any, of the <b> and <br> tags).  Where could you possibly get the idea that
people would do such things?

>> I suggest you re-read the ENTIRE thread, therein you will find some
>> of my thoughts on this.

Shelby, the email medium is very poor for representing the depth and
richness of your thoughts on this.  It is unreasonable to ask and/or expect
Ian or anyone else to re-reread the ENTIRE thread to try to understand your

I have tried to read every email on this thread all the way through as they
were posted, and *I* have lost track of the number of different points being
made, and the latest "debate status" of each.  Perhaps I am simply too
intellectually inferior to keep up.  I get the feeling that I am not the
only member of this list who is starting to "tune out" of this thread.

I suggest for everyone's benefit (including your own) that you instead
summarize your points in a online essay (hosted at your website), titled
something appropriate, like:

  "XBL considered redundant"

or perhaps if you want to get more attention, and "inspire" more debate,
title it:

  "XBL considered harmful".

To be clear, personally I am withholding judgment of XBL, because I have not
studied it sufficiently enough for a well-formed opinion.

If you really care about getting your point across to the W3C community, you
care about making your point accessible to as many members of the W3C
community as possible.  A well written richly semantically marked up* essay
would serve this purpose far better than the current prolonged email
dialogue for this topic.



*Please use XHTML 1.0 Strict with Appendix C compatibility for widest reach.
Received on Friday, 3 January 2003 16:13:24 UTC

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