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Just for the sake of argument, er, discussion, how about this:
<xhtml:b>Philippe Poulard</xhtml:b> - The tag says nothing about its
content, only that it should be bold on output.
<author>Philippe Poulard</author> - The tag *does* say something about the
content, i.e., that it is an author. Presentation does not matter; you now
have a hook to look up authors. It defines *what* this piece of information
is (not *who*; that's defined by the text itself). The <author> tag itself
has meaning at a different level than the text it contains. It means: This
is an author.
That's why when the debate arises at the office over whether to tag
something as a <b> or an <author>, my response is: Tag it for what it is,
not what it will look like on the page. This provides so much more
usefulness (for more than just output formatting).
From: Peter Hunsberger [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 11, 2005 10:12 AM
To: Philippe Poulard
Cc: Bullard, Claude L (Len); firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: [xml-dev] Is HTML structured or unstructured information?
On 8/11/05, Philippe Poulard <Philippe.Poulard@sophia.inria.fr> wrote:
> all along, I take care to avoid using such terms "<xhtml:b> has meaning"
> because, as I was saying in a previous post, "semantic is used for
> terms that means something"
> I argue that "my name is <xhtml:b>Philippe Poulard</xhtml:b>" has the
> same meaning that "my name is Philippe Poulard"
> to be coherent, I won't say that "<xhtml:b> means bold", I will say
> that "<xhtml:b> just stands for bold", because <xhtml:b> carries no
> meaning to its text data
> the semantic applies on the content, not on the container : <author>
> can't be an author, it can only contain a text that corresponds to a
> person name that is (should be) an author
Why can't the semantic can't be applied to the container? Does an address
on an envelope have no semantic meaning? Why the shift in context to
determine what has "meaning"?
I think you just proved Len's point: the separation of presentation from
content is "tricky". Distinguishing between "means" and "stands for" is
pointless in my book (they both have the same meaning ;-)...
> semantic and structuration are just conventions ; it is also the case
> in any natural language (which is not as natural as it seems)
> you may find conventions at a world-wide level (standards) you may
> fing conventions at a corporate level you may fing conventions at an
> application level
> structured and semantic informations are just where one decide to
> apply them... by convention !
> if you ignore one level of convention, you may loose structure or
> semantic : if you give me an access point to your well-designed
> database, and you omit to tell me that a given colomn contains a blob
> that is XML, I will find binary datas (if I'm curious, I could try to
> parse all the blobs and may find XML)
Exactly. As I was saying; measures of semantic content or structure are in
the eye of the beholder...
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