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Re: The Conflicting Notions of Ease of Use and Need for Authoring Tools

From: Orion Adrian <orion.adrian@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2005 17:47:31 -0500
Message-ID: <abd6c80105010314471edc6271@mail.gmail.com>
To: www-style@w3.org

On Mon, 3 Jan 2005 09:31:58 +0000 (GMT), David Woolley
<david@djwhome.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> > The editor you are looking for is like an orphan disease; so few people
> > in the world have it labs don't/can't invest in r&d for that.
> The sort of editor he is looking for is the sort that is needed for CSS.
> If the editor tries to treat CSS as WYSIWYG on the main document, you
> are almost guaranteed to come up with individual styles for each element
> (inline, or #id) - i.e. you no longer have a style sheet.  At that point,
> I would suggest that the tagged PDF approach of making the presentational
> document prime and then marking it up for structure is a more appropriate
> approach to use.  Note that, either way, you must provide both structure
> and styling information, and that requires more skill than that typically
> exercised by the people authoring web sites for all but the most
> prestigious of web based companies.

It makes me wonder if marking up a document with semantics as the
primary markup and styling second is a fundamental problem. The
idealist in me wants to say that semantics should always come first,
but I find that the majority of people and a large percentage of web
authors either don't get semantic markup at all or often make very bad
choices as to how to markup documents.

I also find it troubling that the W3C has not taken upon itself to
create a more standard set of meta-properties, but rather relinquish
that to other standards commitees. Though opinions on this will of
course vary.

Honestly I believe the only real approach that has been at all
successful is that of Smart Tags. Smart Tags at least tries to make it
so that the author doesn't have to think about the semantic markup but
instead allows the authoring program to determine that.

My fear is simple. I fear that authors as a whole will never
understand semantic markup to a degree with authorship is easy. They
may understand the need for it and why it is useful, but I doubt most
peopel will ever be capable of making good choices about their
semantic markup. Instead it will be up to the authoring tools to do

This applies to CSS is the fact that I believe few people will design
their documents style first. Or at least they traditionally don't. It
will be up to the tools to interpret the needs of the author in such a
way that the author can easily opt in to changing a single element's
style or changing all elements or a given class style.

It seems it must be either this must be put in place or a
revolutionary new idea must emerge. Something that is both natural and
efficient for existing users.
Received on Monday, 3 January 2005 22:48:03 UTC

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