RE: B vs Strong

At 6:12 PM -0800 1/18/01, Charles F. Munat wrote:
>Charles replies:
>I *don't* think it's nitpicky at all, but I haven't had much luck
>elucidating why.

Repeating yourself won't make me agree. :)

>Now, in HTML terms:
>1. HTML is for structure. CSS is for formatting.

Except this isn't true, apart from some purely academic and
theoretical beliefs held by a distinct minority.

>2. HTML is for structure, except when you want it to look the same in legacy
>browsers or when you can't be bothered to learn the proper CSS. CSS is for
>formatting, but if it doesn't do exactly what you want it to do, hedge your
>bets with HTML and hope for the best.

This is how many web designers see things.

>I <strong-ly> believe that the easiest, fastest, best way for web
>designers/developers to learn how to design accessible sites (at least from
>a coding point of view), is to realize that EVERYTHING THEY KNOW IS WRONG.

Except that not everything they know -is- wrong.

>So could those in the "it's nitpicky" camp at least acknowledge that I, for
>one, am NOT talking about tag trivia, but about the fundamental philosophy
>behind page design?

Is it okay for me to disagree here?  I'd really like to, but I'm
afraid that you don't -want- anyone to disagree with you; it's not
allowed.  This is why I don't debate theology with religious
zealots, either. :)

>Encouraging or condoning the use of presentational HTML
>is a giant step BACKWARD. And this is not some crazy idea I thought up, READ
>THE SPECIFICATION. Why did its authors go to all the trouble to deprecate
>virtually ALL the presentational HTML?

They didn't deprecate all the presentational HTML.  Transitional
HTML/XHTML is not deprecated.

>We are not doing web designers any favor by saying "just keep using the same
>crappy old code, with a few minor adjustments." We should be saying "LOOK!!

I personally have no idea why you insist on using (X)HTML, which is
clearly a warped presentational language, as some sort of structured
data storage.  I think that -you- are fooling yourself and are way
behind the times if you are actually trying to structure content
using the grossly inadequate tools provided for you by (X)HTML.

Me?  I consider XML-based dialects to be the -correct- way to store
information in structured form, and XHTML+CSS is simply one presentation
for specific browsers which require that poor format for producing
meaningful display for the users.

Likewise, I view WML as a presentational/output language, HTML
3.2, XSL-FO, all in the same way.  (X)HTML to me is merely one of
the languages we need to speak to get browsers and assistive
technologies to understand us.  Sure, it's good to structure your
output in a way that promotes usability/accessibility of the final
form when rendered by a user agent -- I don't disagree with that.

But I have no idea why anyone claiming to be an expert web designer
in the year 2001 would sit here and tell me that "HTML is for
structure, CSS is for presentation!"  Please!  XML is for
structure, and XSL is for producing appropriate, accessible final
form presentation for specific user agents.

Trying to structure content using XHTML and not XML is really like
trying to draw a photo-realistic sunset using an 8-color box of
crayolas, instead of mixing your own paint colors.

Kynn Bartlett <>

Received on Friday, 19 January 2001 01:22:20 UTC