[rdfweb-dev] Re: bio:olb --- text or hypertext?

Norman Walsh ndw at nwalsh.com
Tue Aug 5 18:59:25 UTC 2003


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/ "Bill Kearney" <wkearney99 at hotmail.com> was heard to say:
|> | Regardless of whether it's right or not, we're trying to transport
|> | user entered text embedded in XML. Whenever we do that we face this
|> | issue. As developer's we get to choose whether to strip tags, but even
|> | that can get exceedingly hard some times, as in Dan's example.
|>
|> I understand. But I think we should set user expections that elements
|> are either text (no markup!) or markup (use XML!) and not this odd
|> mixture of both where some layers see it as text and others see it as
|> markup.
|
| The realities are that tools prepping content are not capable of effectively
| guaranteeing that the data inserted into the contents of an element are properly
| constructed to be well-formed and valid XML.  As a result compromises have been
| made that allow effective use of 99.9% of XML's goodness.  That that .1%

I respectfully disagree. If users come to expect that

  <someWrapper><![CDATA[try this:<br><a href="http://...">click here</a>]]></someWrapper>

is going to produce the visual effect of two lines of text and one
link, then 99.9% of the XML goodness is obliterated. We'll be back to
tag soup. Only worse, because now the tag soup will be nested and
disguised. (I can't wait for the application that wants to nest this
nested markup inside nested markup.)

<soapbox>
There are absolutely no circumstances in which escaped markup should
ever be rendered. It is an unacceptable design.
</soapbox>

| (figuratively speaking) is the hard part and, for a great many applications,
| entirely unnecessary.  Yes, it would be 'better' if they got it right.  A lot of
| things in life could be better... if only...

Lots of things would be better. I'm all for pragmatic, 80/20
solutions. But the corollary is important too: Some things are
absolutely, fundamentally, irrevocably harmful if they're not done
well enough.

                                        Be seeing you,
                                          norm

- -- 
Norman Walsh <ndw at nwalsh.com> | To what excesses will men not go for
http://nwalsh.com/            | the sake of a religion in which they
                              | believe so little and which they
                              | practice so imperfectly!--La Bruyère
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