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Re: 9. WYSIWYG editor (enforcing the signature)

From: Mihai Sucan <mihai.sucan@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 04 Aug 2007 12:10:55 +0300
To: "Ian Hickson" <ian@hixie.ch>
Cc: public-html <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <op.twi2ghssmcpsjgr0b0dp@localhost.localdomain>

Le Fri, 03 Aug 2007 23:56:26 +0300, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch> a écrit:

> On Fri, 3 Aug 2007, Mihai Sucan wrote:
>> I have read the HTML 5 spec section on WYSIWYG editors [1] and I'd like
>> to express my concern on requiring the inclusion of "(WYSIWYG editor)"
>> in the META NAME="generator" CONTENT attribute value.
> I agree; in fact at this point I don't think anyone thinks it's a good
> idea. We still need a better solution for handling the two tiers of
> document quality, one targetting humans (who can know what they mean) and
> one targetting today's computers (who rarely know what humans mean), but
> I'm not sure what it is. One possibility I've considered is to just have
> two conformance levels, "conforming html5 document" and "conforming
> low-quality html5 document", with <font>, style="", and
> <div>s-containing-inlines kicking documents into the second category.

Others suggested the use of the Strict/Transitional terminology. I don't  
agree with it, because it's not appropriate in this context.

It's non-trivial (if not impossible) for a machine to make the difference  
between high/low quality code. The style attribute should be allowed in  
"high quality" documents too, same goes for DIVs and SPANs. The one left  
is the FONT tag.

You can't make rules to define high/low quality documents. It's  
subjective. You can have very low quality documents without using DIV,  
SPAN and FONT - e.g. you abuse STYLE. You can "achieve" bad results  
abusing SPANs and/or DIVs,

Besides, you can't "label" DIVs, SPANs and the STYLE attribute as *the*  
only ones which provide humans any indications on the quality of the  
documents. I've seen "clean" documents manually coded with a completely  
wrong semantical structure. For example, in a Contact page all contact  
info was marked up with H1s, instead of a single proper H1 followed by  
paragraphs - the reason was simple "the contact info must be marked up  
like that so the page gets a higher rank on Google". I can't call such  
documents as "high quality". Can a machine check this? You need AI.

A very good user can have good quality documents come out of Dreamweaver -  
albeit doing so is hard. In this case, it's certainly unfair to require  
the editor to add a signature of a "low quality" document.

Even humans don't always agree on what's "low quality" on the Web.

Why even make such distinction?

Ian Hickson said:
"We still need a better solution for handling the two tiers of document  
quality, one targetting humans (who can know what they mean) and  one  
targetting today's computers (who rarely know what humans mean), but  I'm  
not sure what it is."

As you present the two "worlds", yes, there's a stark difference between  
the two. Yes, it makes the reader to want to be able to tell the  
difference between the two. Doing so is harder.

If the distinction MUST be made, here's an idea with a different approach  
to the problem:

<meta name="edit-modes" content="human, tool, WYSIWYG, CMS">

The new meta-tag "edit-modes" (the name is irrelevant, a better name can  
be picked) tells how was the document edited in its entire history. If  
only a human ever edited the document, then the value is only "human". If  
only a WYSIWYG editor was ever used, then only "WYSIWYG". However, if one  
opens a human-edited document in a WYSIWYG editor, then the editor should  
add WYSIWYG to the list, if it does not already exist (such that the list  
doesn't grow much in time).

Several edit-modes can be defined: tools (file converters, cleaners, etc),  
WYSIWYG editors, and CMS which is a different "beast". You could even have  
two types WYSIWYG-Full (web authoring, like Dreamweaver) and  
WYSIWYG-Embedded (like Awebitor).

The edit-modes don't directly tell the quality, but they are a strong  
indication of the code quality. Besides, I was thinking of adding even  
more indications of code quality: the edit-modes could be like a "log".  
Here's a scenario:

- a human creates a document with edit-modes=human
- then the same document is edited with a WYSIWYG editor. Now  
edit-modes=human, WYSIWYG
- the document is cleaned up. Now edit-modes=human, WYSIWYG, tool
- again, back to the editor. Now edit-modes=human, WYSIWYG, tool, WYSIWYG
- the next day, edit the document with another or the same WYSIWYG editor.  
Now edit-modes is not modified because the last string in the list is  

The idea, is you *append* to the list each edit-mode, if the last one  
doesn't equal the "new" one.

This would provide an improved indication of code quality. .

Now, the spec could hint at which edit-modes indicate high/low quality  
documents. However, the spec must not set in stone what's defined high/low  

The edit-modes suggestion could have a wider range of applications, than  
simply having a meta-tag "thumbs up" (high quality) or "thumbs down" (low  

One of the advantages of edit-modes is, you get to see the "quality" in a  
single tag, without checking the document. This is *without* directly  
telling the quality.

That's all for now.

Received on Saturday, 4 August 2007 09:11:04 UTC

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