[Standards-JIG] Re: XHTML-IM Conclusions

Peter Saint-Andre stpeter at jabber.org
Wed Sep 8 15:48:24 UTC 2004

I'm all in favor of simplicity:


So, following your suggestion, we would simplify XHTML-IM even further. 
We would still specify the same set of XHTML modules (Structure, Text, 
Hypertext, List, Image, and Style Attribute), since for instance <div> 
is in Text and you can't formally select only parts of a module in XHTML 
modularization. However, we would vastly simplify the content model:


And we would also augment the supported CSS styles.

So within the <body/> wrapper, the only structure would be provided by 
<div/> (though I think we might still need <p/> and <br/>), <ol/> and 
<ul/> (plus <li/> child), <a/>, and <img/>. All of the rendering would 
be provided by <span/> + CSS styles, and we would include more of the 
latter than we do right now.


I probably won't have time to work on this further until tomorrow.


In article 
<FOENKLDIMCIMONDFDEMKIEGOCFAA.ian.paterson at clientside.co.uk>,
 "Ian Paterson" <ian.paterson at clientside.co.uk> wrote:

> Sorry to join in so late. I'm certain many people are fed up of this
> conversation. Having worked exclusively with HTML for the last ten years, I
> hope I can contribute a useful point of view.
> Since most clients render each instant message as a single paragraph in a
> scrolling display, this JEP only needs to explain how to _style_ (not
> structure) those messages.
> Rachel Blackman wrote on 27 August:
> > I just don't think that saying 'bold can be done as
> > <strong/> and <span style='font-weight: bold'/> and...'
> > is a good road to go down
> Yes. It will be far more simple once there is only one way to achieve IM
> styling. [I also agree with most of what Byron has been saying.]
> Peter wrote:
> > Perhaps removing the CSS features would make people happier?
> No, it needs to be the other way around! W3C has been fighting to separate
> style and structure/content for many years now. They have been severly
> handicaped by the legacy of HTML. W3C recommends that CSS should be used for
> style (while XHTML should be confined to document structure and content).
> The use of HTML (or XHTML) for styling has been depricated since 1997! The
> various HTML specs are full of quotes to that effect. For example: "The
> usage of BLOCKQUOTE to indent text is deprecated in favor of style sheets."
> XHTML-IM is currently proposing the use of BLOCKQUOTE, and I imagine it will
> only be used to indent text! Perhaps the person at W3C Peter talked to
> didn't understand that we want to style IM messages, not structure them?
> Peter wrote:
> > perhaps people are smarter than protocol geeks, and what they really
> > wanted all along was bold and italics, not strong and emphasis...
> Yes, let's get real! Few, if any, IM clients are going to provide CODE,
> CITE, QUOTE, HEADLINE (1,2,3) buttons. We all know what users want is
> italic/bold/red etc... That is even more true for rapid-fire IM than it is
> for Web publishing.
> CSS properties were designed to specify style. XHTML was not. Why should we
> bother with so much XHTML, when in practice it will only ever be used to
> duplicate CSS features (something it was not designed for)?
> If we cut out as much XHTML as possible, this will make the XHTML more
> simple to parse, _validate_ and render. Let's not repeat a ten-year-old
> mistake and handicap ourselves with the added complexity of supporting both
> XHTML and CSS styling.
> IMHO the following tags are _not_ necessary for IM styling: <cite/>,
> <code/>, <em/>, <h1/>, <h2/>, <h3/>, <p/>, <q/>, <strong/>, <br/>. The
> <blockquote/> tag can also be removed if the JEP allows the 'padding-left'
> CSS property for <div/> tags (do we need it?). Finally, clients can use
>   to achieve the same effect as <pre/>.
> That would leave us with the following XHTML tags and attributes for single
> paragraph messages:
> <body xml:lang="" style=""/>
> <span style=""/>
> <a href="" type="" style=""/>
> ...and the following (optional?) XHTML tags for visually structured messages
> and inline images:
> <div style=""/>
> <ol/>, <ul/>, <li style=""/>
> <img src="" alt="" style="" height="" width=""/>
> Existing implementations already parse the CSS styles, and they can be
> trivially modified to generate, for example, <span style="font-weight:
> bold"/> instead of <strong/>.
> Tijl Houtbeckers wrote:
> > For example, imagine I hook up a text-to-speech generator
> > to my XHTML implementation...
> That might be a reason to keep <em/> and/or <strong/>. But that is exactly
> what the CSS 'stress' property was _designed_ for.
> - Ian

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