[whatwg] Re: About XHTML 2.0

Matthew Raymond mattraymond at earthlink.net
Thu Jun 9 08:26:56 PDT 2005

J. Graham wrote:
> I hate to disrupt all the fun but if the concern is the ability to 
> markup Uylsses in a semantic way, we have much bigger problems than <hr />. 
> The total lack of an element for expressing direct speech, say [1]. 
> Worse, Uylsses considers speech to be block level but speech blocks 
> (identified by a leading em-dash) can be contaminated with identifcation of the speaker:
> "Has the wrong sow by the lug. He is my father. I am his son.
> -That mole is the last to go, Stephen said, laughing."
> There's also no way to represent a script-like structure in HTML. An 
> aural rendering of a script would probably leave out the names of the 
> characters but use distinct vocal styles so the reader could follow who 
> was speaking. There would also need to be some sort of markup to 
> distinguish a stage direction so fragments like:
> "BLOOM: (With sinews semiflexed) Magnificence
> BELLO: Down! (He taps her on the shoulder with his fan) Incline feet 
> forward! Slide left foot one pace back. You will fall. You are falling. On 
> the hands down!"
> Can be rendered correctly. So to do it properly, we need markup to specify 
> the age, sex and ethnicity of the speaker. And their emotional state? 
> Obviously we need an attribute for each speech block to link it to the 
> speaker-declaration...

    There needs to be no such markup. Scripts are meant to be 
interpreted, and CSS is what you use for styling. If you want the voice 
to sound a certain, you're in the director's territory, not to mention 
the domain of a stylesheet. If you want a markup language for the 
ethnicity, age, race, et cetera of the actors, then you're closer to 
Machinima territory than a script.

> No, I'm not being serious.

    Oh, nevermind. :)

 > But the point is that HTML does such an
> astonishingly poor job of marking up fiction (and a wide variety of other 
> document types too, no doubt) that arguing over whether seperators should 
> be empty elements or not is just semantic navel-gazing.

   No, because the extensive use of separators, particularly <hr>, in 
web pages clearly show that people are accustom to the concept. 
Therefore, dropping the entire concept of separator elements increases 
the learning curve and makes the use of CSS a requirement for having 
separators in the first place.

 > Where are all the
> people using AJAX (Worst. Name. Ever.) but going "oh I could do all this 
> cool stuff if only I had  feature X"?

    Anyone skilled enough to use AJAX is skilled enough to implement 
most of the features they want using DHTML. That isn't to say that they 
aren't asking for "cool stuff", as I haven't exactly been polling people 
on the subject, but it's clear that demand for new markup is less likely 
to come from those with the skills to implement similar functionality on 
their own.

> Are they all still at the "oh I 
> could do all this cool stuff if only IE supported otherwise 
> well-implemented feature Y" stage?

    Might be. I think web developer would have a parade down Main Street 
in every major city in the world if Microsoft would just fix its 
standards support problems.

> [1] Note "Content inside a q element must be quoted from another source", 
> which direct speech is not. Whilst I'm here, I'll point out that "The q 
> element represents a part of a paragraph quoted from another source." 
> isn't very clear - I assume that "part of a paragraph" means a paragraph 
> in the html document, not in the source - but it could be interpreted the 
> other way around so that quoting poetry, for example, is forbidden

    Can't really argue with you on the <q> element semantics. It seems 
poorly/wrongly defined. For instance, one might ask: "What if you're 
using 'quotes' for something someone didn't actually say, and therefore 
doesn't have an actual source?"

More information about the whatwg mailing list