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   RE: [xml-dev] What is Tag Soup?

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Though some of the points in the 'Tag Soup' piece [1] are reasonable enough
(the web *is* full of tag soup), there seems to be an implied conclusion
that this is somehow a good thing. I don't think this is a valid conclusion
at all. Tag soup leads to a loss of communication, and tag soup inspired
design does this systematically.

The web is growing not only in the number of hosts, but also in its
complexity - web services, semantic web, even blogger tricks like trackback
all contribute in this respect. Complex needn't mean troublesome though.
Things like REST aim to avoid the Big Ball of Mud pattern [2], and although
the breaking of rules is often a creative activity, following good practice
reduces system breakage. The Big Ball of Mud pattern does work, but it means
a lot of wasted resources (mostly human).

In a nutshell, I don't think "that's the way the world should be" follows
from "that's the way the world is".


[1] http://scriptingnews.userland.com/whatIsTagSoup
[2] http://www.laputan.org/mud/mud.html

Danny Ayers
<stuff> http://www.isacat.net </stuff>

Idea maps for the Semantic Web

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Jelks Cabaniss [mailto:jelks@jelks.nu]
>Sent: 11 October 2002 22:53
>To: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
>Subject: RE: [xml-dev] What is Tag Soup?
>G. Ken Holman wrote:
>> At 2002-10-11 07:19 -0700, Dave Winer wrote:
>> >What is Tag Soup?
>"HTML" -- as practised by most (from Joe Homepager to Fortune 500).
>> I have used this term in my instruction for years to
>> characterize the jumble of angle brackets acting like tags
>> in HTML in pages that are accepted by browsers.  Improper
>> minimization, overlapping constructs ... stuff that looks
>> like SGML markup but the creator didn't know or respect SGML
>> rules for the HTML vocabulary.  In effect a soupy collection
>> of text and markup.
>... usually for visual effects in typical desktop graphical browsers.
>It can also be well-formed -- a number of "HTML" editors do this when
>you press the "indent" button several times:
>  <blockquote>
>    <blockquote>
>      <blockquote>
>        This ain't no quote, but it's indented good,
>        ain't it?
>      </blockquote>
>    </blockquote>
>  </blockquote>
>Cheap FOs.
>> I've never seen the term defined anywhere.
>It was first mentioned on Usenet in December, '95 by Arjun Ray
>(according to Google Groups.)  Three years before -- December, '92 --
>Dan Connolly wrote this to Tim Berners-Lee:
>      ...
>    I'm just about to give up on the structure business. Do any
>    implementations have problems with <TITLE> elements in the
>    middle of the document? If not, I can just change the DTD so
>    that HTML is just "tag soup" -- anything goes anywhere.
>      ...
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