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5821Re: vs. , vs. (Was: Re: [NH] Re: Using CSS to space lists & par

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  • Scott Fordin
    Mar 9, 2007
      absalom_nemini wrote:
      > I have to admit to being appalled. From LaTeX I had expected the
      > following snippet to give visible results:
      > <P>
      > And he said:<BR>
      > <CITE>There is a word here needing to be <EM>emphasized</EM>
      > regardless of context.</CITE><BR>
      > <B>A sentiment to which I <STRONG>strongly</STRONG> agree.</B>
      > </P>

      For better or worse, HTML has become more of a de facto formatting
      language rather than a structure-oriented markup language. The DTD
      is lax enough that you can get away with all sorts of illogical
      structuring schemes -- for example, the hierarchy of heading tags
      (h1, h2, h3, etc.) is not enforced. On the one hand, it's made it
      easy for millions of pages to be written by non-coding types,
      giving us all sorts of wonderful stuff that probably wouldn't
      occur to the aforementioned coding types. On the other hand, it's
      created all sorts of issues around browser compatibility, made it
      very difficult to programmatically port or integrate markup in
      other pages or web-based applications, and has engendered page
      design horror shows analogous to the multifont, carny colored
      nightmares we saw in the early days of Apple and Mac page layout
      programs... the digital equivalents of purple shag carpeting and
      cheesy faux-wood basement paneling!

      As a telling example, note that converting SGML->HTML is generally
      a straightforward process, whereas all bets are off when converting
      HTML->SGML. In some ways, we're starting to see the code hit the
      fan with the rise of XML, XHTML, PHP coding models, which are
      usually more strict (depending on your DTD), and are now learning
      how it's often really painful to suck existing HTML pages in to
      new content structures.

      This said, one reason I generally prefer structural markup to
      physical markup is that it makes it potentially easier to
      repurpose content for things I haven't even anticipated yet --
      and I'm just vain enough to hope that some of my old pages might
      find their ways into these new content models!

      (Coding sermonette #3746.12)
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