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Re: HTML5 script start tag should select appropriate content model according to src

From: Jacques Steyn <Jacques.Steyn@infotech.monash.edu>
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 10:35:12 +0200
Message-ID: <4635AA40.2070600@infotech.monash.edu>
To: David Woolley <forums@david-woolley.me.uk>
Cc: www-html@w3.org

Very few present web authors know the code.
I have been teaching markup at universities as well as for wehb 
developers since the 1990s and only the real techies would like to get 
to code level.
Then, I can attest to the point made by David Woolley: creative web 
desigenrs could not care less about the code; while the code ners 
typically have no creative (in the sense of aesthetics) feeling for 
design issues.
 From a users point of view, code applications should operate like word 
processors -- recall how early windows based word processors allowed 
authors to get down to code level? Well, who does that today? Same 
should happen for HTML coding. The Application Developers should see to 
it that the HTML Coding App add tags properly (strictly, well-formed, 
valid) while a user should just get on with the job.
I base this on a Multimedia degree I taught: I suspect the ninds of 
creative people and of coders work quite differently. Over the past 10 
years + I can recall only a handful of students who were good both 
creatively (i.e. aethetically) AND coding wise (as programmers). The 
vast majority were either/or people.

David Woolley wrote:

> Philip & Le Khanh wrote:
>>  From my perspective, a totally rational argument.  How
>> many Fortran programmers believe they can ignore the
>> syntax, semantics & morphology of the language yet
> There has been a theory since last century that there are separate 
> arts and sciences cultures.  My impression is that "web design" is 
> primarily part of the arts culture and is taught that way, for 
> example, I live near the arts campus of a split campus new 
> university.  It's on that campus that web design is taught.
> For many artists, there are no rules imposed by the medium, only 
> technical limitations.  That is not to say that the more sophisticated 
> ones cannot also communicate a message.
> I think I would actually add a languages division as I've found people 
> with (foreign or ancient) languages degrees often make good computer 
> programmers, even if they tend to lack confidence in their abilities.
> I'm less familiar with the situation in schools, except that web 
> dsegin is taught by people who are themselves learners, but my 
> impression is that it ought to be taught as part of native language 
> skills, i.e. the ability to communicate clearly, but is actually 
> taught as something unrelated to that.
> (My suspicion is that a child who wrote good structural markup would 
> not get any marks for that, and would probably lose out to one that 
> used many gimmicks, because the teacher would judge it based on 
> whether it looked like a "web page", rather than whether it was well 
> and clearly written.  I suspect very few teachers will actually look 
> at the code and most won't know what good HTML looks like. Parents may 
> well expect them to behave like that, because they don't understand 
> the real skills needed.)
> We also come back to the marketing versus communication issue that I 
> like.  Marketing, these days is not about precise communication of 
> information, it's about branding and controlling the emotions.  Really 
> good marketing people probably still do think about how they structure 
> material to achieve this, even though they wouldn't want to expose the 
> real message structure.  However, especially being a new medium, there 
> are lot of people who see  and try to emulate the result, without 
> understanding the thinking behind it (and the average consumer is not 
> supposed to instantly recognize that, because they could then ignore 
> it and look for the real facts).
> There is also a general de-skilling issue.  The use of scripted 
> languages means it is possible to work by plagiarizing without really 
> understanding what you are doing.  In fact computer APIs are getting 
> so complicated and so poorly documented, that one often has to simply 
> copy the vendors' example code.
>> still get useful results ?  C programmers ?  Java
>> programmers ?  Any-language-you-care-to-mention
>> programmers ?  Answer : almost none.  Yet you seem
> Although the results were bad, I have seen people blindly cut and 
> paste code and get something that works at a surface level.
>> water.  If a real author chooses to typeset his
>> book, then he'd better learn a great deal both
>> about typography and about the package he intends
>> to use.  If he doesn't, then he can confidently
> Typesetting a book, given some basic styling rules, is not that 
> difficult with modern tools.  The real problem is that web pages 
> attempt a level of magnitude more sophistication that that involved in 
> setting a novel.
> If you want to simply communicate, the default typesetting of 
> structural HTML is good enough for most purposes.  The horrors result 
> from people trying to "improve" the appearence, and often have very 
> little to actually say.
>> can expect to produce rubbish.  Document markup is
>> a skilled and specialist task : it deserves (and
> I think that is an overstatement, when the aim is to communicate.  All 
> it really requires is that you understand the structure of what you 
> are writing.  If you don't really understand that, perhaps you ought 
> to be improving your understanding of the subject before writing.
> We've had the example of italics for genus.  The original author of 
> such material almost certainly is conscious that they are using a rule 
> that equates italics with the deeper structure.  The problem comes 
> when someone else, say a journalist, or advertising copy writer, tries 
> to use the material.
>> needs) a language that that allows the person performing
>> that task to express himself accurately and clearly.
>> Once the markup is complete, another skilled and
>> specialist task emerges : converting that markup
>> into a beautiful and accessible web page.  They are
> Attractive rather than beautiful, and most senior management would 
> consider accessibility an imposition.  In a technology based company, 
> senior management often do not understand the technology behind the 
> product they sell (in a previous job I've met software managers who 
> have come up from being coders, who boast about no longer 
> understanding the technology,  moreover very senior managers often 
> come from completely outside the business).
> Any well written text will pass them by, because they don't understand 
> the underlying subject, and they will judge the site on whether or not 
> it gives them the impression of a company that is up with modern 
> technology (even though, to a real technician, the site may 
> horrendous, and the technology used in the site may have no relevance 
> to the real product, and even though they actually have people on W3C 
> committees, but with no influence on the site). As a result, it is not 
> the author of the well written text that will have status in the company.

Dr Jacques Steyn
Head: School of IT
Monash South Africa

+27-11-950-4132 Phone
+27-11-950-4133 Fax
+27-83-296-9122 Mobile


IDIA: International Development Informatics Association
Received on Monday, 30 April 2007 08:39:49 UTC

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