Sjoerd Visscher's weblog

My ideas about new web technology that can change the future of the world wide web.

Last Update

12/28/2002; 10:52:49 PM

Weblog Search

Don't like the look of this site?

XML coffee mug
Click to see the XML version of this web page.

Updated with

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website.

Saturday, December 28, 2002

Accidental web-archeology

While searching for something completely different, I found this message from August 1993. What if Marc Andreessen had written “OK, we'll add an error indicator”.

Re: A note on the design of markup languages

Matthew Thomas pointed to me some days ago. I have to respond (though a bit late) because I'm a big fan of Matthew's ideas about UI design. They are a lot more refreshing and inspiring than the usual 'look at the Mac' UI suggestions. At Q42 we try to avoid a save button in our web applications since Matthew wrote When good interfaces go crufty.

About Matthew's note: I don't really agree. The main reason is that it's a bit late. RSS always has had links in the contents of elements. For the sake of consistency it's better to leave it that way, even for new elements. Matthew's main argument is that an attribute would work better for styling with CSS. But making a arbitrary XML document readable with CSS should be considered nothing more than a trick, XSL should be used instead. The fact that CSS makes better use of attributes than element content, is a design issue of CSS. If that doesn't fit well with the RSS format, then CSS shouldn't be used with RSS.

I do agree with Matthew's argument that because the URIs are intended more for machine consumption than human consumption, it should be an attribute, rather than the contents of an element. When I design XML formats I always put URIs in attributes, even if they are the only attributes in the whole format. In this case I would have preferred the rdf:resource attribute, because that's the suggested use of the element, and it's also used with the admin elements.