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Re: Legacy elements (was : Complex Table Examples)

From: Philip & Le Khanh <Philip-and-LeKhanh@Royal-Tunbridge-Wells.Org>
Date: Sun, 13 May 2007 13:22:49 +0100
Message-ID: <46470319.4090407@Royal-Tunbridge-Wells.Org>
To: W3C HTML Mailing List <www-html@w3.org>

David Woolley wrote:

> I have a 9 inch pile of such documents, and I'd suggest that they are 
> one of the most common sorts of document that people encounter. 

I am genuinely suprised you believe this.  I imagine that
most web users /have/ encountered such documents, and have
many most cases sought them out, but I also suspect they
occupy a vanishingly small fraction of the total documents
that each has viewed.

>  Of  those that people keep, the main other categories would be financial and 
> legal, also rather specialist documentation, and often not even designed 
> to be understandable by the user - at least user instructions have to 
> attempt to do this.

Not sure why you bring "keep" into this : should the element
set be based on the probability of retention, and if so, why ?
> I disagree that it is a small domain (a lot of my web browsing is users 
> instructions, as that is about the only place where you can get real 
> facts about products - they are generally in PDF, but that is just part 
> of the anomaly that the poor relation parts of marketing get to use the 
> tool intended for up front marketing, and the advertising copywriters 
> get to use the tool designed for supporting documentation!).

But is your web browsing typical ?  How many of us own so many
products that we spend more than a tiny fraction of our lives
searching out instructions for them ?  This weekend I have
download one instruction manual, but probably read several
hundred other documents online.
> In any case, if they are not in HTML, supersets of them are needed in 
> HTML, 

Yes yes yes!  Dialects of HTML, not core HTML itself.
Let the creation of dialects be so simple that each discipline
can generate its own, without needing to burden core HTML
with elements drawn from a vocabulary that fewer than
5% of web authors will ever use.

> Ah! You mean span/div/a/img/script/embed.  

I do mean "embed", but none of the others, since all the others
feature in real life documents from every possible discipline.
All but "embed" have a real r\^ole to play : "embed" is superseded
by "object", as I know you know (!),and only Microsoft's perverse
hijacking thereof prevents its real-life universal adoption.

> That's what the average author wants!   In rejecting these
 > semantic markup elements, I think you are actually supporting
 > the presentationalist case.
> var is certainly valid in almost any academic field, 

Even if I accepted that argument (which I don't), academic
publishing is still only a (small) fraction of serious web

> The other specific reason for retaining human computer interface 
> concepts is that they are needed to document HTML itself.  Without them 
> you cannot properly write the HTML specification in HTML!

Chickens and eggs spring to mind.  "Documenting HTML" is surely one of
the least common usages of HTML :  to define the language simply in order
that it can be self-documenting is (IMHO) insane.

Philip Taylor
Received on Sunday, 13 May 2007 12:22:49 UTC

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