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Re: Formatting Objects considered harmful

Subject: Re: Formatting Objects considered harmful
From: "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 09:50:21 -0400

At 12:02 AM 4/29/99 -0500, Paul Prescod wrote:
>You might as well argue that CSS negates HTML's benefits by allowing SPAN
>and DIV formatting.

Er, no.  SPAN and DIV are part of HTML, not CSS.  Maybe you mean inline
styling, but I think you're out on a limb here.  

>The Web business model since day 2 (cgi-bin) has been "dumb down data and
>shove out the door." The annotation-based model was not going to change
>that. Now corporations have the ability to build new business models
>around structured data. That is an unqualified step forward.

CGI was great because it was cheap, not because it dumbed down data.
'Real' client-server developers groused for years (maybe still do) about
the cost of that dumbing down.  XML was an opportunity to fix that.  It
still is, for intranets, but it doesn't sound like much of the XSL
community is interested in fixing that for the broader Internet Web.

People on this list keep saying 'unqualified step forward', and maybe it is
for the businesses, but the same people seem utterly uninterested in the
impact of XSL on the Web as a whole. In particular, for these folks, the
development of a better Web seems to be far less important than the
creation of new business models for intellectual property holders. 

While new business models may indeed generate more cash on the Web, I'm not
convinced that a profitable Web is a better thing than a usable Web.  (And
we'll continue moving into economic accessibility issues as well, which had
been lessening of late.)  It seems like reconciling these two possibilities
is something the W3C _should_ be interested in, actively and publicly.

Oh well. Perhaps the Web was never really the focus anyway, whatever the
claims of the W3C in hosting this activity.

Simon St.Laurent
XML: A Primer
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