[uf-discuss] Need a figure markup

Greg Elin greg at fotonotes.net
Sun Oct 30 05:52:04 PST 2005


I said I was going to be provocative in my reply...

It may be a different topic, but not unrelated. A friend of mine last  
night expressed the idea simpler than I did while we discussed why  
there might be advantage in having new HTML tags for images and other  
multimedia content. Her observation was, "So the browser can exhibit  
[standardized] behaviors."

I'm wondering out loud if the particular semantic replacements you  
are proposing are fundamental enough to be part of HTML. (It makes  
lots of sense to come up with a MF solution in the meantime. It  
seemed an opportunity to introduce this other idea.). I would suggest  
that the MF be focused not strictly on alignment, but on *naming*  
accurately the semantic element in question, like "screenshot", or  

Greg Elin

P.S. FWIW, Mosiac made a huge splash simply by including an image- 
viewer *inline* with text-viewer. Flock, in a sense, is including  
certain collaborative tools *inline* with browsing (which I love  
about it). Including inline image intelligence, such as EXIF as Scott  
Reynan mentioned, seems to me to be in the same powerful tradition.

On Oct 29, 2005, at 2:52 PM, Chris Messina wrote:

> Greg, certainly interesting comments and things I'd not really
> considered when asking about a "figure" MF. Let me focus my request in
> order to simplify the use cases. The topic you broached is a good one
> worth investigating but might be a separate thread from this one.
> What I'm particularly looking for is a simple classing system (or a
> generic class!) that theme designers can add to all their templates
> and style a certain way, in effect creating a semantic replacement for
> those three alignment classes I cited.
> There are two use cases that I'm focusing on at first (which are
> really variants of the same thing): in blog posts where you want an
> illustrative photo (see
> http://factoryjoe.com/blog/2005/10/19/wired-pimps-ritual-roasters- 
> birthplace-of-bar-camp/
> for example). And in other cases like on the NYTimes or CNET when they
> have screenshots, tables and so on that complement the local content
> (see http://news.com.com/Legal+P2P+opens+for+business/ 
> 2100-1027_3-5911718.html?tag=nefd.lede
> for multiple examples). In a sense you might even use the form
> convention for labels (<label for="related-element-id">) to apply a
> "figure" to a portion of text... But I'm just brainstorming.
> Anyway, does that clarify my needs? The suggestions have been quite
> helpful so far, so I'm wondering if this further description might
> help narrow the discussion.
> Chris
> On 10/29/05, Greg Elin <greg at fotonotes.net> wrote:
>> I want to be a bit provocative in my reply regarding positioning of
>> photos, etc.
>> The core problem is not styling, but the scant treatment of
>> multimedia in HTML itself. A core problem it is time to fix,
>> especially on the verge of SVG.
>> Whereas HTML offers a number of tags for presenting text, HTML offers
>> but a single tag for handling an image (<img>) and a two tags for
>> multimedia objects that differ little (<object> <embed>). Whereas
>> HTML offers tools for making distinctions between paragraphs, line
>> breaks, bullet points, and sections of documents, HTML offers nothing
>> to distinguish between a thumbnail and full resolution image. HTML
>> gives something as sophisticated as footnote and caption for tables,
>> but fails to include the understanding/manipulating of a caption of
>> an image, or an author or copyrights of an image.  Overall, I would
>> say tables get a bit better treatment in HTML than images or
>> multimedia, but still not as much as text and document.
>> At this point in time, the industry has a much better handle on the
>> conventions surrounding the inline inclusion of images, audio,
>> animation, video's, advertising, etc., in side an electronic document
>> -- or better put as part of the delivered markup source. Image maps
>> and the alt parameter let us add links and a pinch of information to
>> an image, but woefully inadequate compared to what we do and are
>> trying to do at this point in time. Up/Down, Next, Previous are
>> pretty standard conventions when navigating image collections. Other
>> aspects of digital imagery is on the tip of our mainstream
>> consciousness even if we are still groping for household names,
>> concepts like: who, where, when, device, resolution, altered, pixels,
>> file-photo.
>> What should that little thumbnail that accompanies almost every entry
>> on news.google.com be called? What is the right term for a person's
>> icon next to their forum post or in their IM.
>> I wonder if this is really just a question of better alignment, or a
>> need to think about how images (and multimedia and (tabular) data)
>> attaches, like footnotes, to our accumulating experience of how link-
>> able electronic content works.
>> Greg Elin
>> On Oct 28, 2005, at 8:33 PM, Chris Messina wrote:
>>> Over coffee this morning, Ryan, Tantek and I discussed the need for
>>> generalized markup for figures like photos, tabular data, graphs and
>>> so on in blog posts.
>>> In particular, the way that images are typically rendered in a blog
>>> post by default leaves something to be desired (floating right with
>>> some margin helps tremendously but requires that styling to be  
>>> applied
>>> inline or via theme/stylesheet).
>>> The WordPress theme Kubrick uses the classes "alignright",
>>> "aligncenter" and "alignleft" to handle these things, but those
>>> classes are hardly semantic or generalizable. What we need is a  
>>> way to
>>> encapsulate any kind of figure and then use other microformats like
>>> hCard for citations or credit, Fotonotes and so on.
>>> Anyway, I thought I would throw this out there and see what the  
>>> CW is.
>>> hFigure might be something to think about...
>>> Other ideas/comments/proposals?
>>> Chris
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