rev-bob at gotc.com rev-bob at gotc.com
Wed Nov 17 04:31:35 GMT 1999

> On 16 Nov 1999 rev-bob at gotc.com wrote:
> > So far, we have exactly one example class of high abstraction authoring tools on the
> > Web - the WYSIWYG HTML editor.  Is there really anyone here who will argue
> > that the development of this class was a good thing?  The questions about where this
> > concept failed are, for my purposes, largely irrelevant; I am merely pointing out that
> > high abstraction and ease of content generation is by no means a formula for a good
> > tool.  In short(er), I'm just trying to urge caution and thought before we charge
> > gung-ho down this path.
> I think one of the questions about where 'WYSIWYG' HTML editors failed
> *is* extremely relevant; they failed because they offered an abstraction
> of something completely different from what they could create.

True enough; they offered a high abstraction, but it was the *wrong* abstraction.  They 
promised something they could only deliver in certain circumstances and with broken 
code - which just goes to show that making something easy to use isn't enough.  You 
also have to make it correct and make sure it is faithful both to the high concept and to 
the final code.

> They didn't simply hide implementation details from their users; they actively misled
> their users about what they were implementing.

Right.  However, it can be (and has been) argued that this was simply a way to take the 
abstraction one level higher.  Abstraction is not a magic remedy for core problems; this is 
all I'm trying to say.  Validity is critical, and IMO, it is more important than an easy-to-
use high abstraction.

> There are going to be many XML-based markup languages that are highly
> specialized for very particular tasks.  They're generally what we'd think
> of as data-oriented languages rather than document-oriented languages.

And for such tasks, I agree - a strict (and closed) abstraction level is good for such 
things.  No argument.  My primary concern is general-purpose publishing for the Web; 
please consider my comments in that light.

 Rev. Robert L. Hood  | http://rev-bob.gotc.com/
  Get Off The Cross!  | http://www.gotc.com/

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