More is needed than just “listening”. There has to be a guiding princicple. The word ’semantics’ is often used in this context, but it has unfortunately become overused and hard to define. A better way to describe the principle is:
A markup language should describe the author’s intent.
This principle immediately clarifies countless cloudy issues. Daniel Glazman blogs about how he laments the <br> element, with this example:
<p>Combien sont ces six saucissions-ci ? Ces six saucissons-ci sont six sous.<br/>Si ces six saucissons-ci sont six sous c’est six sous trop cher!</p>
To analyze this, one needs to ask what the <br> element is
Another contentious area is around how to provide linking properties in a general way. Again, the answer is to let the author describe their intent in a general way, as I described in a skunkworks XML linking proposal.
A few more examples. Should there be a a <hr>-like element, perhaps called <separator>? Yes, because separating two different pieces of text is an intent, one that can be readily rendered on the screen, voice, or print. Similarly, proposals for an attribute named
xml:id fit in with the idea of exprssing intent.
XHTML 2 hasn’t radically changed recently. The best way forward is to stay the course. XHTML 2 needs a better-defined goal (ideally a requirements document), and continuous, incremental movement towards the goal. -m
How do you express intent?