Short Tags and my Email Client

Michael Alaly alaly at
Wed May 13 23:59:58 BST 1998

I apologize for my previous posts, I am using a Microsoft Outlook Express
(uh oh!) and had it configured to send as HTML which obviously was a bad

In any case, I fail to see how short tags does anything but reduce the
readability of a file.

After marking up several megabytes of data by hand over the last few
weeks, I have come to the conclusion that <conclusion><emphasis>this</> is
more <emphasis>readable</> than <emphasis>the fully tagged
equivalent</></conclusion>. Of course it is all about context, which is
why I think that people would (and do!) want to mix short versions and
long versions just as they do in SGML, LaTeX and some programming

I too mark up many megabytes of documents by hand and I find that for
"Readability and ease of use"  I much prefer long tags. This is because when
faced with:

<DOCUMENT><ARTICLE><ARCTITLE><FRONT><PUBINFO>.... the list goes on for ever
I would MUCH prefer to see when a specific tag ends rather than just seeing
an end. I often look through files which were marked up in short tag
(proprietary format) and I will see 20 </> 's in a row. Which are still
open? When debugging a file that was incorrectly tagged and doesn't parse
there is NO way to tell which tags are open and which are closed! If I spend
30 mins going through and attempting to find which elements were closed and
which ones were missed it is hardly an easy process. Long tags make
debugging/proofreading much less laborious and I would contend that most
people can read and process a long end tag as quickly, if not more quickly
than a short tag.

<PARA>This text is <EMPHASIS>more</EMPHASIS> readable than <UNDERLINE>the
for a human to process and follow.</UNDERLINE></PARA>

<PARA>This text is <EMPHASIS>LESS</> readable than <UNDERLINE>the
<EMPHASIS>previous<SUPERSCRIPT>example</></>, and is easier for a human to
process and follow.</></>

In the latter case the human has to look back and see which tags are open in
order to understand which are being closed. In the former, it is clear which
tags are being opened and which are being closed.

Once again, sorry for the HTML format I was using, I didn't even realize
until Peter pointed it out... a number of times. :)

Michael Alaly
alaly at | 314.878.6474

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