[uf-discuss] RE: Scraping or parsing?

Ryan Cannon ryan at ryancannon.com
Tue Mar 6 09:58:23 PST 2007

On Mar 6, 2007, at 11:46 AM, Mike Schinkel wrote:
>> What I said was: WYSIWYG-only
>> users can't read code. Microformats without tools are
>> code. In my experience, WYSIWYG users who post code they
>> cannot read rarely get the outcome they desire. Authoring
>> Microformats with the intention that they be usable *as
>> code* to content authors *who cannot read code* is a pipe
>> dream.
> Help me with this...  How do I recognized these "WYSIWYG-only  
> users?"  Are
> they a certain color?  Height?  Or maybe they have barcodes on the  
> back of
> their necks?  Or can I just give them IQ tests to determine who  
> they are?

"Alt tags" :-)

> Clearly my sarcasm drips... The point I'm making is that "WYSIWYG-only
> users" exist because technologist think it is okay to implement  
> technology
> that is complex and *requires* tools as opposed to first implementing
> technologies that humans can deal with and THEN designing the tools.

Wrong. WYSIWYG-only users exist because there is a demand to publish  
content on the Web without requiring a new and most likely tangential  
to those such users already possess (rhetoric, visual design, etc.). I
firmly believe that semantic HTML *should* be a core competency, but in
reality--today--it is not.

In my experience as an instructional technologist, semantic HTML  
microformats) work in a fundamentally different way than most people  
about documents. These types of users want a word <b>bold</b>. In  
order for
microformats to be effective for users with these interests, others must
develop rich tools. Without them, rich semantics will seem neither
necessary nor cost-effective.

What I think you're missing here is that microformats aught to be  
for humans *with certain skill sets* (the ability to read and write  
perhaps CSS) to easily understand (as opposed to say, WSDL). Profile  
fulfill this requirement because they leverage an established (albeit
unused) semantic HTML construct. As conceived now, some type of
definition/versioning/disambiguation to microformats within the <body>
will require either:

   * re-writing HTML semantics
   * impinging upon the usability and design of a document (i.e. by  
     extraneous links)
   * adding invisible metadata (which violates the spirit of  
     and the semantics of <body>)

Although I'm sure then community is open to ideas if they solve these

I also think discussion of WYSIWYG-only users is fairly off-topic for
this list because their experience comes through a level of abstraction:
tool developers. We can continue that discussion off-list.

Ryan Cannon

Interactive Developer
MSI Student, School of Information
University of Michigan

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