W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > February 2008

Re: Marking Up Poetry

From: Dr. Olaf Hoffmann <Dr.O.Hoffmann@gmx.de>
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2008 19:13:29 +0100
To: public-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <200802281913.29323.Dr.O.Hoffmann@gmx.de>

Peter Krantz wrote:

>Why do you want to mix markup with presentation? 

No, not in (X)HTML, if this is required, as for some types
of poetry I have too, SVG seems to be the better approach.
For aural presentation maybe an OGG-file or MP3 skipping
any markup.
With SVG the 'poem presentation' has no semantical meaning too,
but at least the graphical presentation is defined in detail, if
it is really important to have a graphical display as part of
the content, for example for concrete poetry and some 
mixed graphics+text problems. SVG provides advanced 
accessibility tools too, if no graphical presentation is available,
therefore an author could provide some kind of conceptual 
art as a text alternative too - it will never be the same, but
can provide a similar pleasure/information/entertainment.

>HTML with CSS (aural 
>and visual) will provide the information ot the user agent on how to
>present it. 

This is more for the default stylesheet of the browser for such
specific elements. I think, a basic line indication is expressable in CSS
in a useful way as given as example in the wiki, therefore it is no big
problem to have such a default stylesheet in browsers for a visual
presentation and if advanced aural presentations are available for 
aural presentation too.  
If authors need more than a basic identification
of strophe lines as strophe lines and strophes as strophes, 
obviously they can use additionally CSS, XSL, timesheets, scripting,
whatever is desired for decorative purposes. The (X)HTML elements
cover already the basic functionality, independent from optional
styling and decoration.
If this would be superfluous in general, HTML-Documents could
have a default presentations as arbitrary XML-Documents have -
pure inline elements and (X)HTML would be already completely
superfluous, any author could simply use his own XML format
with CSS or other decoration and maybe XLink to embed links
and other files.

>I am guessing that you, as the poet, would want to be able 
>to influence the presentation rather than being forced by user agents?

As for other elements one has both choices - a useful default 
presentation only using (X)HTML and some additional decoration
from other sources, none of them excludes the other.
And as already mentioned, if for example positioning or color,
timing etc are important for the content, another format like
SVG might be the better choice anyway. But in many cases,
especially for traditional poetry (classical poems, song texts without
music etc) (X)HTML with 1-3 additional elements as a basic 
markup would be the simplest and sufficient choice for the
majority of (not really anarchistic) artists ;o)

>>  There is a need for a predefined vocabulary with well implemented
>>  behaviour in user-agents.
>Centrally defined and controlled domain specific vocabularies are
>difficult to establish. Why do you think poetry should be added but
>not law, cooking, shipping or animal husbandry? "Well implemented
>behaviour in user agents" is not controlled by the HTML WG.

Some of them are included in the 'redefinition' of the dl/dt/dd
in the wiki already, especially I have seen some law pages having
similar problems to markup something useful, could be solved
to with such an approach to improve dl/dt/dd for several
purposes, it is used anyway already today ...

And in parts it is - such a recommendation describes for example,
which elements are used to define lists or tables - and surprise,
user-agent present it somehow useful as lists or tables, not 
as a meaningless inline string, else no one would use such a 
user-agent, if it would be not able to indicate somehow, that
some groups of elements are a lists, tables or a headings. 

>>  But ol is not very
>>  useful too, because this is typically presented with some line
>>  markers like numbers or letters,
>Please note the difference between markup and presentation. There has
>been a lot of work to make sure the web is moving in that direction.

Yes, but it is still a long way as we can see with this poetry problem,
authors still have to struggle with (X)HTML to solve it reinventing the
wheel each time, searching around what others have done or what
they recommend (if they search long enough, they will find currently
dl/dt/dd, may use it, but may already guess, that this is just a crutch
for something missing in (X)HTML).

Received on Thursday, 28 February 2008 18:26:29 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Thursday, 29 October 2015 10:15:30 UTC