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Re: WWW: Interoperability Crisis?

From: Sean B. Palmer <sean@mysterylights.com>
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2001 03:07:48 -0000
Message-ID: <020f01c08357$db5d6ba0$faec93c3@z5n9x1>
To: "Aaron Swartz" <aswartz@swartzfam.com>, <www-talk@w3.org>
Cc: <www-html@w3.org>
> Do I create these documents in HTML? If so, should all my documents
> be in HTML? What happens if I want to use features that aren't available
> in HTML? Should I use a proprietary format that supports URIs instead?

This is a problem that the W3C only addressed just recently with XHTML m12n
[1]. For the most part, the fundamental core of XHTML is stable and useful.
But sometimes people require extensions. XHTML m12n allows you to do that
in your own namespace, which is good.

> Will my content be able to be read in web browser either way?

I doubt it. Only XHTML Families that use W3C defined modules will do
anything: i.e. just because you extend XHTML it doesn't mean these
behaviours will be automatically supported. In other words, using W3C XHTML
specifications means that you will have some hope of having UAs do the
correct things with it: e.g. show an image where an <img> is. If you add
stuff, then for the most part you are on your own, but you can use CSS for
styling.

> I can add music and graphics and animations and all sorts
> of things -- everyone wants to see those, right?

I'm glad you are playing the devils advocate here, because if you were
serious I'd probably never talk to you again :-) For anyone that really
*does* believe these things, I'm afraid it's harsh reality time: some
people want to see your crummy graphics, but not everybody. Here's quite a
fun DanC quote on these lines:-
[[[
And I'm sure you've been here too: the all-singing, all-dancing Java,
ActiveX, and Shockwave page. The tension and excitement builds as you wait
for all the pieces to download; your machine moans under the stress, but
you finally got that RAM upgrade and a new sound card, and you're ready.
And finally... a talking head tells you to come back next week when they
will have their catalogue online. Gee thanks. A simple "under construction"
sign would have told me all I need to know about this site: go somewhere
else.
]]] - http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/9701webapps.html

> I don't know anyone with a disability, so I don't see why I should
> care about them. They can't be that important, right? Why don't
> they just ask a friend to tell them what stuff looks like? It's there
> problem, not mine.

Should I dignify that with a response? I like this bit Aaron, and I'm sure
people can work out the immense sarcasm here for themselves... if they
can't then I pity them, and urge them to look at: http://www.w3.org/WAI/
Anyway we all have some disability. What if I wrote a new program that
displays holographs, and wrote all of my pages in that media, and charged
$20,000 for the hardware and you couldn't afford it? What would you say if
I accused you of being poor, get a friend to give you some money etc.?

> > How do you suggest we do that w.r.t. XHTML?
> Fix the:
>     - browsers
>     - books
>     - web-page making programs
>     - opinions
>     - etc.

Yep. But it's notoriously hard to fix the opinions. People do have some
degree of intelligence on the whole, but there are those who make take your
rhetoric above to be serious. I don't know to cater for those people, but I
hope that if all of the others (the books, the tools...) are fixed, then
the opinions are fixed too. Hey, that means you were right (of course), 2)
does come about if you make it a prerequisite of 1). <satisfied_sigh/>

> How so -- what kinds of "rich" things can I do with it?

Tables of data, hyperlinks, metadata expressions, links to media (with
equivalents), and so on. Ugh, I feel another DanC quote coming up:-

"Quality communication on the web is a mixture of poetry, graphic design,
interactive user interface design, and database application. It's an
immersive, participatory medium." - ibid.

There's lots of stuff you can do with a mixture of good XHTML and CSS.

> True, but I get to make things that look flashy and work just fine
> for 90% of web users. Yet, they still seem to make you sad...

90%??? You'd be surpised if you knew the actual figures. 20% of the users
generate 80% of the statistics.

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml-modularization

--
Kindest Regards,
Sean B. Palmer
@prefix : <http://infomesh.net/2001/01/n3terms/#> .
[ :name "Sean B. Palmer" ] has :homepage <http://infomesh.net/sbp/> .
Received on Saturday, 20 January 2001 22:11:49 GMT

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