[whatwg] several messages about HTML5

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis bhawkeslewis at googlemail.com
Wed Feb 21 06:39:04 PST 2007

Henri Sivonen wrote:

> I think device independence and accessibility are worthwhile goals.  
> Semantic markup and separation of content and style are not essential  
> in themselves but just a means of pursuing the other goals.

Those aren't the /only/ goals of semantic markup and separation of
content and style. They also make sites easier to redesign.

> Well, to the extent most people keep semantics implicit and only  
> think about presentation explicitly, reconciling "natural" with  
> asking them to think differently is a problem.

In so far as this is true, it is true only when particular conventions
become exceptionally familiar. In unfamiliar cases (academic citation
formatting) or confusing cases ("it's" vs. "its"), people typically have
to resolve the semantics of what they are trying to format before trying
to apply a format to it. However, the familiarity of conventions is
partly a function of the tools themselves, i.e. typewriter users were
used to different conventions. Given the wide variety of commenting
systems used on blogs and forums today on the one hand, and the enormous
variety in presentation on the web more generally on the other, I
wouldn't underestimate people's capacity to absorb new conventions.

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis

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