[uf-discuss] Formating Code

Tantek Ç elik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Wed Nov 2 08:55:33 PST 2005

On 11/2/05 8:26 AM, "Jacob Ham" <hakejam at gmail.com> wrote:

>> But its not part of the presentation, its part of the structure/meaning.
> How could we tell the difference between languages that are white
> spaced sensitive, and ones that are not?  Some languages would need
> <pre> and some would not.  How human readable is:
> <pre>
>   <code>
>   blah
>   </code>
> </pre>
> compaired to:
> <code class="Python">
> </code>
> If we created a microformat, Python informed Microformat engines would
> be aware of how to deal with the Python or MyNewLang formating
> (semanticly). The 'pre' element is for "pre-formatted text" [1].

And code is text, therefore it makes sense.

> I am
> not saying that we shouldn't use the semantics that are available to
> us in HTML, but that we are using the 'pre' element in the wrong way
> (for programming languages).
> Maybe I am thinking to hard, or looking at this the wrong way.

Consider that both <pre> and class="python" provide additional semantics to

Typical source code *is* white-space sensitive, and thus when providing a
block of source code it makes sense to use the <pre><code> XHTML compound.

Now, in *addition*, there is nothing wrong with extending that with a
semantic class name on the <code> to indicate the language.  For example,
many CSS specifications already do this with <code class="css"> and <code

But that's just proper use of semantic class names.  It's ok to stop with
that.  It's not even clear that it is necessary if you're thinking from the
perspective of a search engine which is going to go out there and index all
blocks of code -- it could just index instances of the <pre><code> compound,
and perhaps use other heuristics to determine the language of the code.

However, the real question is:

Is there really a need for a microformat for code?

I'm not convinced of that yet.

If you think there is, then I invite you to follow the steps indicated in
the process:


which will help scientifically answer that question based on microformat



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