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

Peter Saint-Andre stpeter at jabber.org
Fri Nov 22 03:19:00 UTC 2002

I've finally gotten a chance to look at the Icon Styles proposal
(JEP-0038) and some of the questions about it that circulated on the list
back in September (see post by Mattias Campe [1]) as well as Adam Theo's
reply in October [2]. Here is my take on the issues raised:

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.

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.

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.

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.




Peter Saint-Andre
Jabber Software Foundation

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