general purpose attributes

to follow up on what jaap van lelieveld said:

> What I would prefer for a descriptive language as HTML is:
> - have elements for certain things a designer needs
> - have equivalent attributes in all elements each with its specific
>   use and of course always the same attribute for the same use.
> In fact this means ALL elements have ALL attributes with the same
> use (relevant or not). It is typical for a historically grown 
> language to have different attribute in each element each coverring
> some or some other target.
> I would be happy if the HTML 4.0 would avoid this problem by simply
> standardizing atrribute defniitons and give them to ALL elements
> (where useful).

I think that Jaap has sounded what is going to be one of our
long-running themes.

It _is_ one of our themes.  It would be better if HTML were
posessed of a smaller vocabulary of more general-purpose terms.
I believe that this does make a difference in our ability to
populate the Web with universal documents that make sense in
different browse modes.

It won't be solved overnight.  Some of the reasons why the OPTION
proposal talks about an OPTGROUP element and not a broader GROUP
element have to do with accidents of SGML structure and some of
it has to do with more fundamental efficiency reasons why SGML
was built that way.

Another reason it won't happen instantly is that merging
different communities' visions to come up with a common
vocabulary of the concepts that need to be reflected in the HTML
terms is a slow process.  It's easy and quick to go our own ways.
Hearing one another is another matter.

-- Al Gilman

Received on Wednesday, 22 October 1997 15:00:05 UTC