[standards-jig] message formatting (XHTML IM)

David 'TheRaven' Chisnall theraven at sucs.org
Thu Jun 19 15:15:46 UTC 2003

I have a few thoughts, some of which may be sensible, some of which may 
result from lack of sleep:

1)  I really don't like the idea of parsing /italic/, because this is 
often used in paths and URLs that people paste into chat dialogs and 
having a client randomly italicise parts of a URLwould be irritating. 
 These forms of mark-up are often used in the geek community, but not so 
common outside it.  For the people who use it the client parsing it 
would be unrequired, for those not using it it would be confusing. 
 However, this is not a protocol issue.
2) I'm not sure what the advantage of being able to enter your own 
markup is to most people.  MSN etc. don't let you do this, they all give 
you a wordpad style interface.  There's nothing to stop client having 
keyboard shortcuts (ctrl-i for toggle italic, for example), for users 
who prefer to use a keyboard, but the majority of IM users have grown up 
with MS Word and derivatives and expect that kind of UI for entering 
rich text.
3) The client I currently use (JAJC) supports HTML IM very well, and has 
a clear UI for doing so.  With the exception of the MSN transport not 
correctly parsing it, it seems to work fine, and does everything I would 
expect of an IM system.
4) MathML.  Hmm.  While it would be very useful to be able to enter 
mathematical formulae in an IM (I usually fall back to entering LaTeX 
syntax and relying on the other party to parse it in their head, which 
is far vrom ideal) my view on MathML is that is a demon-spawned 
hell-child.  It is not human-readable (the spec even states something to 
this effect) and if you aren't going to be human-readable then this 
somewhat defeats the point of using XML.  I have yet to find a good 
program for creating it, so I suspect that it would require a major 
investment of effort on the part of client developers to implement.

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