[whatwg] markup as authored in practice

Elliotte Harold elharo at metalab.unc.edu
Sat Dec 2 09:05:05 PST 2006

James Graham wrote:

> Well I think you're hugely mistaken. Any model without support for error 
> recovery is not suitable for hand authoring (and only marginally 
> suitable for machine authoring). 

You mean like almost every programming language ever invented? When's 
the last time you saw error recovery in a C compiler?

> Since most web documents are hand 
> authored, and even those which are not are produced by tools which 
> prioritize speed, ease of use and features rather than bulletproofing 
> against all possible output errors, XML is not a suitable format for the 
> web.

I don't believe most web documents are hand authored any more. Consider 
that essentially every page generated by Blogger, Moveable Type or 
WordPress is not hand authored. Almost every page at sites like 
Amazon.com or walmart.com is not hand authored. Hand authoring is a 
distinct minority on the web today.

> Out in the real world, not everyone gives a shit about markup standards, 
> but that doesn't certainly doesn't mean that their content isn't worth 
> viewing. For example, the majority of people who are likely to want to 
> publish mathematics on the web are professional scientists or engineers. 
> However, in my experience, the fraction of such people who are competent 
> to reliably produce valid XML is tiny[1]. By insisting on XML you are 
> effectively preventing these people from publishing in their field of 
> expertise. The same is presumably true of artists and SVG - even if they 
> have tools to produce all of the graphics, how many will be able to keep 
> the surrounding XHTML document well formed, much less valid? 

I work with these folks on a regular basis. Those that aren't competent 
to do this all use DreamWeaver anyway; that is when they aren't 
designing sites that are just one big Flash app.

Elliotte Rusty Harold  elharo at metalab.unc.edu
Java I/O 2nd Edition Just Published!

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