Re: hand authoring web pages (was Re: Exploring new vocabularies for HTML)

Neil Soiffer wrote:

> However, without real facts, it is hard to see how hand authoring can be 
> considered a priority.  Our personal experiences are just not 
> informative of what the majority of users do.

Thank you for this great message. Seriously.
If you're a geek living most of your time in a geek world as most
of us do, you can observe the following:

   - linux has a remarkable market share on the desktop
   - pure text editors are always the first editing tools installed
   - W3C's tidy is a well-known HTML sanitizer
   - everyone knows what's a doctype
   - everyone has heard of CSS
   - PDF authoring has no market
   - HTML-based email is non-existent

Last year at a conference in Paris, I gave a talk on the History
of HTML. At some point during my talk, I mentioned the fact that
XHTML 2 is a dead duck because when you chop off the <head> of a duck,
the <body> is still moving. Geeks laughed. A lot. Non-geeks were totally
lost, looking at the rest of the crowd with scared eyes... The very very
VERY vast majority of web users has never viewed the source of a web
page. They are all potential web authors. I sincerely hope - and please
remember that's the original dream of TBL about a browser/editor -
they will all become web authors.
If I take the largest blog host here in France, more than 3
million blogs, its authoring UI is strictly wysiwyg. You can be sure
users of that blog platform with a minimal knowledge of HTML are below
The vast majority of these non-geek users also send HTML-based email.
Without any kind of HTML knowledge. They _are_ authoring HTML.

Never _ever_ consider yourself as a target user for the technologies
you're working on, that's the lesson.

Hardcoding HTML should remain possible. HTML is what it is today because
the early adopters could understand and learn the first versions of HTML
in hours. Making HTML5 hardcodable is probably not a priority in its
own. But making HTML5 hardcodable helps designing it simple, and that
will help tutorial authors, editing tool implementors and in the end
the whole community. KISS is not bad principle after all.

Just my 0.02 eurocents.

Co-Chair, W3C CSS WG

Received on Tuesday, 1 April 2008 16:16:18 UTC