Re: Relationships between different XML applications

At 11:15 AM 5/30/98 -0400, Al Gilman wrote:
>"Without human involvement..." Ah, you must be being sarcastic.
>The point of WYSIWYG is to allow the author to be directly
>involved with what their readers will see.  The point of
>accessibility is to get HTML back to being a robust medium which
>captures what you have to say and not just what you expect your
>reader to see.

I concur with your first point, but you're losing me on the relevance of
the second. Machine-generation based on a set of user-defined rules does
not necessarily prohibit accessibility. Under most circumstances, I can
take a document with publishing-quality layout and export it as raw ASCII
if I wish. "FTP with pictures," as we've all heard it once described.

>As far as I know, the best current practice for blind people
>wishing to create Web pages, database applications, and similar
>lightweight programming is to use text interfaces.

Certainly. But the invention of word processing bloatware didn't
necessarily make ASCII documents written up in vi or emacs obsolete or

>Writeability of HTML is a value.  It contributes to the
>democracy, the universality of the Web.  If we make HTML not
>writeable as text, we lose.  You have to have a story how you are
>going to make that up to sell this.

I completely agree that writability is a critical issue. Without it, the
Web would have no where near the proliferation it has today. Yet continued
support of simplicity does not require us to limit ourselves to a Byzantine
document authoring system for a heterogeneous, networked environment.
Furthermore, insistance upon such a primitive baseline would put the whole
standards process in jeopardy of public irrelevance.

Despite my continued use of mailx in a world enthralled with souped-up mail
clients that support text/enhanced and other nefarious (from my
perspective) MIME types, my cries for archaic simplicity here will do
nothing to stop the public migration to richer e-mail authoring formats.
Like it or not, to the rest of the e-mail-enabled universe my choice of
mail clients puts me in the same class as cephalopods. My choice is to
either adapt or perish in a sea of unintelligible attachments.

Similarly, we have witnessed the growth of document authoring environments
progress from primordial ASCII to word processing bloatware with
ransom-note-like font support and layout features most of us don't even
understand, let alone use.

To say these truths are a fluke and not representative of the advancement
of document authoring in general would be naive, to say the least. While
some of us still follow the TeX gospel according to Knuth, there are grand
reasons why everyone knows of MS Word, WordPerfect, etc. -- and uttering
the phrase 'LaTeX' or even 'troff' only draws blank stares from the every
software sales clerk at the local Office Max.

>One of the writeability problems of XML is that it assumes tags
>are there to form elements, and that elements nest.  This is an
>unnatural restriction on verbal expression.

Case-and-point why these rules and regulations of syntax, while powerful
for rendering and other purposes, should be abstracted from any sane author.


Received on Saturday, 30 May 1998 16:42:14 UTC