[whatwg] Authoring Re: several messages about HTML5

Sander Tekelenburg tekelenb at euronet.nl
Wed Feb 21 13:55:12 PST 2007

At 16:18 +0200 UTC, on 2007-02-21, Henri Sivonen wrote:

> On Feb 21, 2007, at 07:14, Sander Tekelenburg wrote:


>> My feeling is that many people can understand and work with that
>> slightly abstract concept, but they need tools that make it easy.
> People also need to believe that they benefit from thinking on a more
> abstract level.

Absolutely, yes. <http://webrepair.org/01why/> provides some arguments. But
obviously listing arguments is not the same as convincing people. Having some
proofs of concept, and thus be able to actually demonstrate the advantages,
will make it easier to convince people.

>> If we can offer people 'semantic editors' that work in a 'natural'
>> way, they won't have to fight.
> 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.

I understand what you mean. I put "natural" in quotes because it's not the
best description of what I mean: right now we have editors that for instance
require people to decide whether to mark smething up as a heading or as bold.
An editor on the other hand that allows only blocks to be defined as heading,
and only inline content as important, by providing only options that are
relevant to the context, shields people from having to make such too
difficult technical choices. That's what I meant with "natural": making
things simpler for people.

>> But I think before that education stands a chance of making a dent,
>> there'll need to be good non-WYSIWYG authoring tools.
> I agree. Do you have a plan on how you are going to convince
> developers to take the risk of incurring the cost of developing a new
> kind of tool which may not succeed with users?

Yes. The Web Repair Initiative is working on getting funding and form a
'core', a consortium of a few parties which will produce actual code/tools[1]
(we have one party aboard that is doing that already right now). This core is
to be a basis for a broader community effort to amongst other things help
authoring tool authors who want to produce better output but need help. We
aim to be a 'central point' where authoring developers can get help with
this, both by offering them tools and code snippets they can integrate in
their product, and by sharing experience on how to solve specific problems.
And of course last but not least, by providing a specification[2] of what
exactly their authoring tools need to provide. (That specification is to be
defined through an open process, just like WHATWG does here.)

[1] <http://webrepair.org/02strategy/01development/> and its sub pages.
[2] <http://webrepair.org/02strategy/02certification/01requirements.php>

Sander Tekelenburg
The Web Repair Initiative: <http://webrepair.org/>

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