an unfilled need

Ann Navarro ann at
Mon Sep 6 16:31:45 BST 1999

At 04:54 PM 9/5/99 -0700, David LeBlanc wrote:

>I don't think it's appropriate for any single organization to attempt to
>set definitions (i.e. specify namespaces) for particular domains of
>interest. I see that as an exercise best left to those who know whatever
>particular domain they are creating a tagset/namespaces for.

And this doesn't suggest that. 

Leaving assertions of anthromorphization aside: 

In today's Web browser, there is built-in "knowledge" of what HTML elements
are supposed to be and do. They have been programmed to recognize a <P>
element as a new structural block, presented with a leading line space,
text flush left, unless otherwise indicated in a style sheet or align
attribute. Simple, primarily presentation information, but it's
preprogrammed in how to deal with such elements. That it doesn't recognize
and act upon the designed content model for P or UL or anything else, was a
design decision of the *browser* programmer, one that could be questioned. 

Allowing for discovery, based on a schema, DTD, or whatever other defining
mechanism is provided, lets tomorrow's Web browser have that same
"knowledge" of a <foo> element, and any other knowledge deemed necessary or
prudent by those who will be using said element. 

No one is suggesting we'll be creating Commander Data by doing this. Nor is
it "will o' the wisp". 

I am not a software architect, I do not pretend to be one. Yet this is not
an idea that is foreign to many who are, and even thought of as necessary
by some of those. 
The "rest of the world", as it were, is trying to do this already. By all
the misunderstandings that arise *outside of this forum* about the intent
and usefulness of namespaces, it should be evident to everyone that there
is a desire for such abilities, even if the more academic of us look down
on it as ill-informed. 

It's certainly not something that should be laughed off the list. 



Author of Effective Web Design: Master the Essentials
Coming in September --- Mastering XML

Founder, WebGeek Communications  
Vice President-Finance, HTML Writers Guild
Director, HWG Online Education   

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