[standards-jig] Icon Styles again (JEP-0038)

Adam Theo theo at theoretic.com
Sat Dec 21 08:57:44 UTC 2002

A long time in the coming, but I'm finally getting around to finishing 
the Icon Styles JEP (0038), otherwise known as the "emoticons spec" 

Replies inline.

Peter Saint-Andre wrote:
> 1. I'm happy to see that version 0.3 of the JEP uses "xml:lang" rather
> than "lang" -- support for common i18n standards is a good thing.

Yes, I'm happy with this as well. It's much cleaner than what I was 
using before.

> 2. The JEP currently uses <graphic mime='image/foo'/> and <sound
> mime='audio/bar'/> to define multimedia files associated with a text
> shortcut. I tend to agree with Mattias that we can determine the
> multimedia format from the MIME type, and that it would be better to use
> something like <object mime='blah'/> to provide a more generalized format
> (people might want to include multimedia formats other than graphics and
> sounds, e.g., applets). Adam's reasoning for leaving it as-is is that the
> JEP was intended to support only graphics and sound files, but it can do
> that just as well without hardcoding the element names, since the MIME
> type can be determined from the value provided in the 'mime' attribute. It
> seems to me that the cost of making this more generic is small, and that
> is worth changing before the JEP goes to Draft.

Well, another problem I have with trying to create a generic object tag 
for every multimedia file is that not all multimedia files have the same 
types of attributes. I'm thinking about adding 'length', 'width', 
'filesize', and 'seconds' attributes for the graphic and sound tags to 
help clients figure out if the multimedia files are the proper "size" 
for the client. I could create an object tag with all fo these 
attributes, but then where does it stop? I'm sure flash, java files, and 
other "new" multimedia files have attributes other than the basic 
graphic & sound ones.

I do allow for the support of these "new" media types, in the <x/> 
element included in the latest version. Using those, developers can 
agree on standard ways to define different multimedia files, including 
all needed attributes. This allows the most-often used multimedia types 
of graphics and sounds to remain uncluttered.

> 3. The JEP currently requires that at least one graphic file must be
> associated with a snippet of text. While I realize that the proposal
> emerged from discussions of emoticons (which are typically graphical), I
> agree with Mattias that someone might want to associate only some other
> multimedia format (you can bet that some second-grader is going to want to
> be able to type ::burb:: and have the appropriate sound play in his
> friend's client). Of course if we change from <graphic/> and <sound/> to
> <object/>, then this concern would evaporate. Mattias also suggested
> changing from "icon" to "mapping" or something like that, but that seems
> unnecessary to me since the root meaning of "icon" is likeness,
> representation, or simile.

The sound-only "feature" is compelling, but only if the above problem is 
not an issue. And yes, icon is a perfectly acceptable term for all of this.

> 4. It seems a bit messy to include things like <version/> and <author/> in
> the body of the XML file that defines the icon style. Usually
> meta-information like this is contained in a header of some sort (this is
> typical in XHTML, DocBook, and the JEP format itself), and I'd prefer to
> see the same thing done for <icondef/> files -- we could use <meta/> or
> <header/> or <iconinfo/> as a wrapper for all the meta-information.

I don't like this approach for the same reason you do like it: personal 
preference and how it looks to our eyes :-) I prefer to have as few 
levels as possible going down into the XML, as long as it doesn't scroll 
off a screen.

Since it is just a personal preference, I'd be willing to change it if 
the majority of opinions here say so. Democracy!

     /\  Adam Theo, Age 23, Tallahassee FL USA
    //\\   Email & Jabber: theo at theoretic.com
   //  \\  Cell: (850) 567 1138
//  ||  \\  Theoretic Solutions: http://www.theoretic.com
     ||         "Building Ideas by Bringing them Together"
     ||      Jabber Protocol: http://www.jabber.org
     ||         "The Next Generation Communications Protocol"
     ||  "A Free-Market Socialist Patriotic American Buddhist"

More information about the Standards mailing list