[Standards] IMML

Robin Redeker elmex at x-paste.de
Tue Aug 7 07:53:33 UTC 2007

On Mon, Aug 06, 2007 at 12:17:39PM -0700, Rachel Blackman wrote:
> >XHTML-IM is for sending HTML messages. IMML is for sending modern
> >Instant Messages. IMML intentionally leaves out most of the  
> >flexibility
> >that XHTML-IM provides, most of which has no semantic meaning
> >whatsoever. We might as well be using XSL-FO.
> >
> >Imposing rules such as you suggest for HTML a's just adds to the
> >complexity of implementation, and illustrates that HTML in any form is
> >simply the wrong tool for the job.
> This is an argument that will never be resolved.  We have people who
> want to be able to put every single HTML object (including Java,
> Active X, DHTML and so on) into messages and feel XHTML-IM is far too
> restrictive and anemic;

> they argue you should be able to paste HTML
> in from Firefox and have it display exactly as it was.

Then every XMPP client would have to embed the firefox rendering engine
for that. Displaying HTML (mostly any kind, XHTML, HTML 4...) in
different browsers will lead to different results (in the real world).

Maybe they should post screenshots instead :-) ?

> And then we have people who feel XHTML-IM is too complex and is
> overkill for the  situation.
> XHTML-IM manages to strike a (somewhat sensible) middle ground, which
> is probably why it will stick around. :)

There is one big difference between XHTML-IM and IMML, which are simply
a matter of semantic. XHTML-IM says how to exactly display a text,
what color, what size, what padding, where to place an image, or
whatever. IMML just says "display this with emphasis", "and this is an
URL, display it approriate".

Clients can then choose how to put emphasis on some text (eg. by
rendering it bold). XHTML-IM doesn't leave such a choice, either the
client can render something bold or he has no way to display a bold

I also disable XHTML-IM always, because the people seem to never get it
right to send just normal text. Often their text is smaller than mine
and some even think it's funny or very readable to have some big and
colorful text.

While I agree that lots of todays youth just loves these gimmicks
and that it might be important to support colors and images and all
that, I also want to have a middle way between XHTML-IM and no
formatting at all. IMML is seems to be restricted enough to provide a
reliable way to display an instant message while not enforcing how
something might be displayed.

For XHTML-IM one must roll a more or less complete XHTML-IM parser and
CSS1 parser. I agree that it is not impossible to implement it due to
the very limited set of XHTML and CSS1. But XHTML-IM leaves the
destination client almost no freedom in displaying the text. A console
client will have no other choice than just ignoring the XHTML-IM content
of a message or run some heuristics over the html and somehow find out
what color or attributes a text might have.

IMML is way easier to implement, and clients and users still have choice
how to display something with emphasis.

IMML moves the choice to the receiving end, XHTML-IM leaves the choice
to the sender. It's mostly a semantic difference. And afterall, instant
messages are usually not documents.

Just my 2 cents.


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