Duct Tape -- a comment by David Siegel

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David Siegel

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Feb 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/15/97
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Hi everyone,

Here I am stepping into the circus spotlight so everyone can throw
tomatoes at me. Thanks to Carsten and other third-generation people for
holding up my end of the conversation. It sure is amazing to be part of
this web thing and see it go through a continual state of puberty. I'm
glad to be part of it. You should know I've been on both the W3C's style
sheet and HTML committees for almost a year and a half. I serve an
advisory role to the W3C and have recently designed their "MADE WITH
CASCADING STYLE SHEETS" logo. Here's a bit of a response to the activity,
and a challenge to you at the end...

Some people say I've ruined the web, and to them it's true. Web pages
can't be seen as easily by search engines and those with low-end machines
have a hard time getting much out of my site. On my personal site, I
don't even put ALT tags just to send a message to those surfing without
images. My life is visual. I love museums. How would you like to visit
the Louvre with images turned off?
I want to say to those present that the hacks I've espoused,
especially the single-pixel GIF, are the duct tape of the web. They are
the designer's finger in the dam of the web made by "purists," giving
surfers a pleasant visual experience until we can do it all much better.
Style sheets are part of doing it better. Layers will help. Vector
graphics will help a lot, and so will PNG. Keep in mind that the purists
are protecting some pretty fetid ground. Most of the content is garbage,
and most of my content turns to garbage after some reasonably short
period of time. So to protect gossip and bad writing as information is
shaky ground. Trying to find quality on the web is like trying to find
arable land in antarctica. The web is a visual medium, and not to design
is to design. Personally, I'd rather leave the design up to professionals
than programmers, but hey -- that's me. It's easy to be proud of your web
site. It's another thing to have people say it was easy to find
everything, and the amount of really good writing can be measured in
kilobytes.
Some day, the purists and I will see eye to eye. It's just a matter
of your priorities until then. My personal priorities are that design
drives the train, because to hold an audience, you need good content, and
you need to present it well. The best content poorly presented will lose
to a better idea hidden by dull presentation (presedential elections
aside).
My clients want to win on the web, so we use the method used by more
political strategists: image. We use great-looking sites and compelling
experiences to create equity on the web for our clients. Watch the coming
bookstore wars. Amazon.com will have a lot of competition. All of them
will have great selection, service, and advice on what to buy. The battle
will be fought on design and editorial content, plus extra services that
make people feel special. This has nothing to do with "information," but
everything to do with attracting and keeping customers. How much
information does Nike give out about its products? Not a lot. On the
commercial side of the web, design can make millions of dollars of
difference.
You're not on the commercial side of the Web, you say? Great. Then
why complain? Stick with your human-genome site and put helical
horizontal rules all over the place. Just don't expect many visitors.
When we have better tools, we will use them. When HTML evolves to the
point that we no longer need to do browser detection or dynamic page
serving, we will do things simpler, and better. Until then, we're going
to go through another round of hacks where we put everything into
databases and serve pages from there. It won't help the search engines at
all. It will cost millions of dollars. It will all be totally
unnecessary. Don't look at me. Look at Netscape. They write the rules; I
just follow them.

You'll find more of my thoughts on these topics in my big essay:
http://www.dsiegel.com/balkanization/ and on my upcoming newsletter,
which will be announced at http://www.highfive.com/ in mid-march. And if
you haven't read my book, the companion site: http://www.killersites.com/
will tell you about it.

Meanwhile, my company, Studio Verso, is hiring. We're looking for project
managers and production people. Please see our site:
http://www.verso.com/ for details.

Now, here's the challenge. We are working on a new book that we think
will benefit developers around the world. It is about the process of web
design and the client/contractor relationship. We have an online survey
you can fill out. It covers salaries, estimating, sales, pricing, hours,
and client and contractor issues of interest. It's at
http://www.verso.com/editions/survey/ -- I hope you'll come get our form
and email it in, you'll help us provide the community with this important
information. If you fill it out, we'll mail you the results ahead of
publication in our book.

Thank you for the exciting debate. I wish you all well.

Alan J. Flavell

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Feb 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/15/97
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On 15 Feb 1997, David Siegel wrote:

> Thanks to Carsten and other third-generation people for
> holding up my end of the conversation.

(I'll defer commenting on that till last)

> It sure is amazing to be part of
> this web thing and see it go through a continual state of puberty.

How true, how true.

I'm
> glad to be part of it. You should know I've been on both the W3C's style
> sheet and HTML committees for almost a year and a half. I serve an
> advisory role to the W3C and have recently designed their "MADE WITH
> CASCADING STYLE SHEETS" logo.

Splendid. Welcome indeed. A pity about the earlier counter-productive
activities, though, that have produced such unpleasant results when
enthusiastically adopted by those who didn't understand the context.

> Some people say I've ruined the web, and to them it's true. Web pages
> can't be seen as easily by search engines and those with low-end machines

That's true enough

> have a hard time getting much out of my site.

But at I have commented before, your site is overtly visual. HTML
isn't appropriate for that purpose, there is no way that anyone can
make visual appeal universally available via HTML.

> On my personal site, I
> don't even put ALT tags just to send a message to those surfing without
> images. My life is visual. I love museums. How would you like to visit
> the Louvre with images turned off?

The WWW aims to make many different media available. The only way to
make typography reliably available is via some technique other than
HTML, e.g images or PDF.

> I want to say to those present that the hacks I've espoused,
> especially the single-pixel GIF, are the duct tape of the web.

Right, and they are about as welcome as duct tape would be when
applied to one of those Louvre masterpieces.

> They are
> the designer's finger in the dam of the web made by "purists,"

I disagree. The web is clearly big enough for both agenda, but it
distresses me to see the wrong medium misused and abused in that way.
It's been obvious since the early days that style sheets were the way to
put the style into HTML, and it's a great sadness that you have wasted
so much time and effort on the wrong tools, instead of putting your
weight earlier behind the push for style sheet support.

> Keep in mind that the purists
> are protecting some pretty fetid ground. Most of the content is garbage,
> and most of my content turns to garbage after some reasonably short
> period of time. So to protect gossip and bad writing as information is
> shaky ground.

Right. So, what do you suggest? Your [pre-style-sheet] techniques seem
to be targetted at making any kind of content attractive (for those in a
position to view it that way) yet less-accessible. Now, you appear to
be advocating taking that low-valued content and applying your design
techniques to it - is that right? So, which is your aim - to make
low-valued content appear attractive, or to make low valued content less
accessible? I must say, I would prefer to work at increasing the value
of the content, than to fritter away effort making that low-valued
content more attractive. I hope I am misunderstanding your point here.

> The web is a visual medium,

Is it? I thought it was the browsers that rendered web documents into
visual form. And surely, that is where the design effort is most badly
needed.

> Some day, the purists and I will see eye to eye. It's just a matter
> of your priorities

Indeed so.

> My personal priorities are that design
> drives the train,

I see little evidence of it yet. The most popular browser has one
of the worst visual presentations of standard HTML.

> My clients want to win on the web, so we use the method used by more
> political strategists: image.

Images, like the other media, have their honourable place on the WWW,
just as HTML has. HTML was introduced for a specific reason: to provide
platform-independent markup of text, and to link to other media. It can
still do that job eminently well, though one would wish for better-
designed presentation agents (browsers) to exploit that ability. For
sure, you make it clear that you have different aims, and you intend to
bend HTML to your purposes. That makes HTML worse at achieving its
original intentions, yet still it does not fulfil your requirements
well, as your own pages demonstrate by practical example.

> This has nothing to do with "information," but
> everything to do with attracting and keeping customers.

In the technical field, the term "information" has a rather specialised
meaning. Certainly an advertisement contains "information" in the
technical sense; obviously, it's lacking in technical specifications,
performance indices, tables of test results etc. of the product, if that
was what you had in mind by the term "information". But when an HTML
page is displayed on the Nokia 9000 browser, or heard on pwWebSpeak,
your lovingly crafted coloured fonts aren't effective, and can't be
effective. The answer seems to be style sheets, not HTML-wrecking
kludges.

> Don't look at me. Look at Netscape. They write the rules; I
> just follow them.

That's sad. You say you allow the rules to be written by a vendor
whose HTML rendering is one of the least attractive on the market?
Back when IBM ruled the computer market, I don't recall the cutting-
edge companies allowing everything to be Big and Blue, they set their
own design agenda. And so should you. I never claimed to be a graphic
designer myself, but that doesn't mean I can't recognise it when it's
there.

To come back to that first point, I have to say that if I found _my_
position being supported by arguments of the standard of those being
posted by Carsten, then, far from being grateful, I would be feeling
embarrassed.

best regards


Carsten Whimster

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Feb 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/15/97
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In <Pine.HPP.3.95a.97021...@hpplus08.cern.ch>, "Alan J. Flavell" <fla...@mail.cern.ch> writes:
>On 15 Feb 1997, David Siegel wrote:
>
>> Thanks to Carsten and other third-generation people for
>> holding up my end of the conversation.

You are very welcome. I hope that I have done a credible job of representing
you, whenever I have done so directly. Mostly I represent myself, and I am
a little less radical than you. I do believe in live and let live though, and don't
agree with the attacks on myself and you that have been happening here. My
main point of departure from you is to use ALT tags extensively, I guess. I
would be thrilled if you did too, but that is a personal choice.

[cut-n-paste]

>To come back to that first point, I have to say that if I found _my_
>position being supported by arguments of the standard of those being
>posted by Carsten, then, far from being grateful, I would be feeling
>embarrassed.

Hehe, now you are just saying that because you don't like me. I have
tried to do a credible job of explaining why some people might want
to make a different set of compromises than you. In any case, I mostly
speak for myself, and David's position is close to mine, but a little more
radical, to be sure. The main reason that David's name appears in the
subject of most of these threads is that I originally asked why people were
so against him, having just read and loved his book.

I freely admit that I may have made some technical blunders in my arguing
but I have tried to present my opinion as well as possible, and defend it as
valiantly as possible. I have also admitted in a couple of places that my
choice of words was wrong and misleading. I don't see anyone else doing
that, even though plenty of mistakes have been made all around...

The main "mistake" being made in these threads, IMHO, is that of claiming
the moral high ground for one's own set of beliefs. There really is not such
thing as "right", no matter how much you choose to believe that. The closest
you can get to "right" is "the law", and none applies here. It is just one set
of beliefs against another, not good against evil. Some people around here took
Disney too much to heart, I think.

> I'm
>> glad to be part of it. You should know I've been on both the W3C's style
>> sheet and HTML committees for almost a year and a half. I serve an
>> advisory role to the W3C and have recently designed their "MADE WITH
>> CASCADING STYLE SHEETS" logo.
>
>Splendid. Welcome indeed. A pity about the earlier counter-productive
>activities, though, that have produced such unpleasant results when
>enthusiastically adopted by those who didn't understand the context.

Hopefully this will stop people from claiming that we are runing the web,
and demonstrate that the purists are not the only people who want the
web to move forwards. I would personally love to be involved in something
like this, but that isn't going to happen.

it also demonstrates that it is entirely possible to have an unpopular
opinion, yet still be respected and respectful of others. A few people in
this newsgroup could learn from that...

>But at I have commented before, your site is overtly visual. HTML
>isn't appropriate for that purpose, there is no way that anyone can
>make visual appeal universally available via HTML.

Propriety is a personal call, not something you can judge on behalf of
everyone. It is a very popular site, and has even won some awards. Now
what do *you* use as a measuring stick?

>> On my personal site, I
>> don't even put ALT tags just to send a message to those surfing without
>> images. My life is visual. I love museums. How would you like to visit
>> the Louvre with images turned off?
>
>The WWW aims to make many different media available. The only way to
>make typography reliably available is via some technique other than
>HTML, e.g images or PDF.

Or... an image of text. There are ways, although you don't use them.

>> I want to say to those present that the hacks I've espoused,
>> especially the single-pixel GIF, are the duct tape of the web.
>
>Right, and they are about as welcome as duct tape would be when
>applied to one of those Louvre masterpieces.

Now hang on here. I am willing to bet anything that David's personal site
is more visited and more bookmarked than anything you have ever done. So
what enables you to say things like that? Be aware that you are speaking
for yourself, and at best for other purists, but not for the web in general.

>> The web is a visual medium,
>
>Is it? I thought it was the browsers that rendered web documents into
>visual form. And surely, that is where the design effort is most badly
>needed.

Come now, would the web have taken off if graphics had not been available?
It took off when Mosaic came out, and even more when Netscape came out.
Graphics is the main attraction. Text is also available, but it is a side-show.

>> My personal priorities are that design
>> drives the train,
>
>I see little evidence of it yet. The most popular browser has one
>of the worst visual presentations of standard HTML.

All a matter of taste. It is not perfect, but it is not that bad either.

>> Don't look at me. Look at Netscape. They write the rules; I
>> just follow them.
>
>That's sad. You say you allow the rules to be written by a vendor
>whose HTML rendering is one of the least attractive on the market?
>Back when IBM ruled the computer market, I don't recall the cutting-
>edge companies allowing everything to be Big and Blue, they set their
>own design agenda. And so should you. I never claimed to be a graphic
>designer myself, but that doesn't mean I can't recognise it when it's
>there.

You are just resorting to words now. David cannot make Netscape do what
he wants them to any more than you can. The same goes for Microsoft. So,
we all just have to wait to see what becomes commonly available, and
work with it. Your IBM comparison really doesn't apply.

Carsten Whimster
car...@edm2.com
EDM/2 Editor-in-chief
================================================
The Electronic Developer Magazine for OS/2
http://www.edm2.com/
================================================


Stephen Traub

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Feb 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/15/97
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bcrw...@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca (Carsten Whimster) wrote:
>In <Pine.HPP.3.95a.97021...@hpplus08.cern.ch>, "Alan J. Flavell" <fla...@mail.cern.ch> writes:

>>> I want to say to those present that the hacks I've espoused,
>>> especially the single-pixel GIF, are the duct tape of the web.
>>
>>Right, and they are about as welcome as duct tape would be when
>>applied to one of those Louvre masterpieces.
>
>Now hang on here. I am willing to bet anything that David's personal site
>is more visited and more bookmarked than anything you have ever done. So
>what enables you to say things like that?

Hypothetically, if David's site were to get more hits than Alan's, I'm not
understanding how this unenables Alan to say the things Alan is saying (or
vice-versa).

Porno sites may be more visited than both David or Alan sites, does that
mean pornster page producers are enabled to comment on David's site or
techniques, but those who produce less-visited museum site or Alan are
therefore less-enabled than the pornsters to comment about David techniques
or philosophies? Could you clarify this?

Steve

--
Web Page Re<p>air - Widen your Web site's audience.
http://www.shore.net/~straub/wpr.htm
Property Valuation Advisors - Commercial Real Estate
Appraisal in New England http://www.shore.net/~straub/

Warren Steel

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Feb 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/15/97
to bcrw...@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca, da...@verso.com

Carsten Whimster wrote:
> The main reason that David's name appears in the
> subject of most of these threads is that I originally asked why people were
> so against him, having just read and loved his book.
> The main "mistake" being made in these threads, IMHO, is that of claiming
> the moral high ground for one's own set of beliefs. There really is not such
> thing as "right", no matter how much you choose to believe that. The closest
> you can get to "right" is "the law", and none applies here. It is just one set
> of beliefs against another, not good against evil. Some people around here took
> Disney too much to heart, I think.

Tim BL's vision of making the world's knowledge available and
retrievable by all (or at least the maximum) of the world's people
is a high-minded goal, as well as an intensely practical one,
one that can be of great advantage to commercial enterprises
in publicizing their products and services. As I said before,
it's only natural that attempts to subvert this goal by placing
unnecessary obstacles in the viewer's way will be met by some
indignation, not only from those excluded, but also from those
who still maintain that vision. I grant you, self-righteousness
is not attractive, but neither is an inflated self-image posing
as art, which I see daily among designers who say "see it my
way or the highway, bud" and who view legitimate user preferences
as "scrawling a moustache on the Mona Lisa," to borrow a phrase
that's actually been used in this newsgroup.


Carsten, I'm not accusing either you or Siegel of having
this attitude; but it's you that walked in here with your
mind made up (in fact your views may have moderated since).
In one of the first responses to your original inquiry, I said
that Siegel's views have been articulately defended here by
his associates and desciples (I was referring to Todd Fahrner,
among others, whose comments have been useful in their own
right, as well as helping to illuminate DS's goals for the
curious.) Over and over again I have cited DS's useful advice
on browser configuration, while pointing out the limitations
of his advice on "web page design," A couple of weeks ago I
quoted Siegel extensively to show that he approves and endorses
the W3C's style sheet recommendations, and that he has spoken to
and worked with the W3C in their efforts to provide "presentation"
for many that does not result in blocking access or legibility to
many others. In other words, he regards his "solutions" as
temporary stopgaps, or, as he now so aptly puts it, "duct tape."

I think Alan's point (or one of his points) is that by offering
a "duct tape" solution instead of working to fully implement style
sheets at least two years ago, DS has created and encouraged a
generation of "web page designers" that know of nothing but duct
tape, meanwhile leaving the Web "suspended in Gaffa," as Kate Bush
puts it (gaffa=gaffer's tape=duct tape), along with all those who
depend on or sympathize with Tim BL's vision of portability and
accessibility.


AJF>The WWW aims to make many different media available. The only way to
AJF>make typography reliably available is via some technique other than
AJF>HTML, e.g images or PDF.



> Or... an image of text. There are ways, although you don't use them.

The problems with that have been pointed out over and over
again. You know perfectly well that HTML text is scalable and
configurable, and can be seen by the viewer in whatever font,
size, or color may suit that viewer's eyesight, viewing conditions,
and esthetic preference, none of which the author knows. An image
of text is non-configurable, non-scalable (on most graphical
browsers), and, at least in the case of fancy initials, non-
searchable, or have you lately searched the web for "etscape"?

DS> The web is a visual medium,

AJF>Is it? I thought it was the browsers that rendered web documents into
AJF>visual form. And surely, that is where the design effort is most badly
AJF>needed.



> Come now, would the web have taken off if graphics had not been available?

Missed the point! What the world needs from visually-astute
designers like David Siegel is a browser that renders standard
HTML in a way that incorporates the principles of typography and
design that Siegel espouses. Perhaps the browser would come
bundled with some of Siegel's favorite fonts. The standard
HTML elements--headings, paragraphs, lists, and tables, would
default to margins, spacing, leading, and other that conform
to Siegel's ideas. For example, the <P> element would be
indented at the first line, and not throw an additional linefeed
at the end, providing for a print-like appearance of running text.

In addition, the browser would support stylesheets, which
DS strongly supports, which would allow expert designers to
refine the presentation still further. But there would always
be the fallback to the default, which would still be both
legible and pleasing for most viewers, and easily configurable
to special requirements. The Siegel browser could be the first
mass-market browser to support HTML 3.2 and CSS1 *completely*,
and could also pioneer in support of the OBJECT element for
other media of all types, as well as RFC 1945 Tables, with
their enhanced scalability and speed. Promoted by his websites
and his books, as well as his considerable public relations
acumen, this could truly become a "killer appplication," or at
least a "killer browser," which would make every site a "killer
site."

Authors would then concentrate on providing clear, durable,
well-organized content, instead of worrying about ugly rendering
or passing fads in web design (like Siegel's own concept of
deliberately *avoiding* standard HTML constructs because they
are so poorly presented in current browsers). Well-paid style
sheet specialists would develop, who could provide that added
edge for artistic and commercial sites. And the name of Siegel
would go down in history, blessed by designers and purists alike,
cursed only by his hapless competitors...

Any takers?

--
Warren Steel mu...@olemiss.edu
Department of Music University of Mississippi
URL: http://www.mcsr.olemiss.edu/~mudws/

Alan J. Flavell

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Feb 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/15/97
to

On Sat, 15 Feb 1997, Carsten Whimster wrote:

> >But at I have commented before, your site is overtly visual. HTML
> >isn't appropriate for that purpose, there is no way that anyone can
> >make visual appeal universally available via HTML.
>
> Propriety is a personal call, not something you can judge on behalf of
> everyone.

Today's lesson is taken from: http://www.dsiegel.com/damage/

| If you are using Netscape, and your fonts aren't too big, this page
| looks as I intended. The first line of text in this paragraph should
| end on or near the word "browser." If you are using another browser,
| and the text goes all the way across the screen, please set your text
| size and window width so the first sentence stands alone on one line.
| Also, I recommend you turn link underlining off and set your
| background to white.

I interpret that as a factual proof that HTML is not apt for this
purpose. You may consider it to be personal prejudice if you prefer to
see it that way. This is only usenet, after all.

> what do *you* use as a measuring stick?

As an overall criterion: fitness for purpose

As detailed criteria, in no particular order:

- Content
- Appropriate choice of media for purpose
- Accessibility to widest range of browsing environments.

Of course, if the _purpose_ is visual, then I'm willing to confine
consideration to visual browsing environments. With HTML itself,
that isn't predicated.

> >The WWW aims to make many different media available. The only way to
> >make typography reliably available is via some technique other than
> >HTML, e.g images or PDF.
>
> Or... an image of text. There are ways, although you don't use them.

Pardon? Your remark seems entirely tangential to what I wrote. Though,
it's true that I don't normally make images of text for the WWW. But
then, I'm not a typographer. Doesn't mean I have any objection to
typography. My objection is to a (excuse me) clumsy attempt to emulate
typography using a portable hypertext markup language.

> Come now, would the web have taken off if graphics had not been available?

Please re-read the paragraph "The WWW aims to make many different media
available...".

> Graphics is the main attraction. Text is also available,

Ah, now we're beginning to get to it. I say that the WWW aims to make
many different media available, but you prefer to deprecate text. Well,
now who's letting their personal preferences get in the way?

This is still the HTML authoring group, and I'm still interested in
discussing HTML. It's only one part of the Web.

> Your IBM comparison really doesn't apply.

Sorry, I wasn't convinced on that point.


Christopher Davis

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Feb 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/15/97
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AJF> == "Alan J. Flavell" <fla...@mail.cern.ch>
CW> == Carsten Whimster <bcrw...@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>

AJF> I see little evidence of it yet. The most popular browser has one
AJF> of the worst visual presentations of standard HTML.

CW> All a matter of taste. It is not perfect, but it is not that bad either.

If it's not that bad, why is it so important to override it? :-)

--
Christopher Davis <c...@kei.com> <URL: http://www.kei.com/homepages/ckd/ >
"I conclude that the CDA is unconstitutional and that the First Amendment
denies Congress the power to regulate protected speech on the Internet."
-- Judge Stewart Dalzell in _ACLU v. Reno_

Mark Johnson

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Feb 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/15/97
to

"Alan J. Flavell" <fla...@mail.cern.ch> wrote:

>On 15 Feb 1997, David Siegel wrote:
>
>> Thanks to Carsten and other third-generation people

Just to butt in, but that can't mean me, since I'm not a 3G or 2G or
any kind of people, as such. I just think that the W3C
representatives, or those in the same camp they think, are
unreasonably rigid and inflexible in their view of something as
dynamic as the internet.


>But at I have commented before, your site is overtly visual.

I think you miss the point of present developments. We are on the cusp
of a change from flat color, list-oriented hyperlinks to full-on, full
screen video. This inbetween, now, with all sorts of plug-ins and
add-ons and streaming audios, all of which sort of work and sort of
don't, mostly due to narrow bandwidth of landlines and current
compression algorithms, is that content and style or presentation form
a balance, or mix, which I think rather than be fought or avoided
ought to be embraced. It might well be that the future holds not so
much content, as fluff - not so much HTML as image map buttons that
enable you merely to change channels - not an internet that demands
active participation and involvement, but one geared to make every one
else couch spuds. (after all, it may not pay for an advertiser to make
avail the catalog when he's got some professional actors to sell you
on one particular item through sales gimics and a skit, i.e.
commercials - and so on)


>there is no way that anyone can
>make visual appeal universally available via HTML.

Which is no argument to impoverish a page because not just everyone,
in a perfect world, can see it the way you intended. It's not a
perfect world; which is not to say the minority is necessarily wrong,
and certainly not simply because they are in the minority (I, myself,
am in the minority on lots of issues - but . . .)


>The WWW aims to make many different media available. The only way to
>make typography reliably available is via some technique other than
>HTML, e.g images or PDF.

This might be true if we didn't know that, presently, NN and IE pretty
much own the market. If one uses a small screen appliance, then one
has to be prepared for notepad-like results. One must know this before
buying the thing. If one uses B & W, then one can't expect to see
color (though it might be nice if web designers didn't exclusively
_rely_ on color, for this reason - particularly for navigation). The
14-17 in display on a desktop must be assumed. Where it isn't the
case, then all bets are off, and the use of adjustable table widths,
and other things, ought to begin to pay off - but only to a point.


>> The web is a visual medium,
>
>Is it?

Increasingly so. And, let me butt out at this point . . .


Peace.


Carsten Whimster

unread,
Feb 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/15/97
to

In <5e4npm$3...@fridge-nf0.shore.net>, Stephen Traub <str...@shore.net> writes:

>bcrw...@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca (Carsten Whimster) wrote:
>>In <Pine.HPP.3.95a.97021...@hpplus08.cern.ch>, "Alan J. Flavell" <fla...@mail.cern.ch> writes:
>
>>>> I want to say to those present that the hacks I've espoused,
>>>> especially the single-pixel GIF, are the duct tape of the web.
>>>
>>>Right, and they are about as welcome as duct tape would be when
>>>applied to one of those Louvre masterpieces.
>>
>>Now hang on here. I am willing to bet anything that David's personal site
>>is more visited and more bookmarked than anything you have ever done. So
>>what enables you to say things like that?
>
>Hypothetically, if David's site were to get more hits than Alan's, I'm not
>understanding how this unenables Alan to say the things Alan is saying (or
>vice-versa).
>
>Porno sites may be more visited than both David or Alan sites, does that
>mean pornster page producers are enabled to comment on David's site or
>techniques, but those who produce less-visited museum site or Alan are
>therefore less-enabled than the pornsters to comment about David techniques
>or philosophies? Could you clarify this?

I was referring to Alan's use of the degree of welcome-ness of the tricks
that David uses. Alan has no idea how welcome it is, except from his
own point of view. The tricks have contributed to create a very popular
and memorable site. That is a partial justification for it right there. I know
that this doesn't wash for you or Alan, but it does for me, and David, and
everyone else who has visited and loved David's site.

Carsten Whimster

unread,
Feb 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/15/97
to

Well, that's a little harsh, but I see what you mean. The trouble is that
not everyone on the web agrees with TBL, and indeed not everyone even
knows about him, or the W3C, or the WDG, or any of the other groups
that continue to push the original ideals. Actually, I would be very
surprised if any more than a few (maybe 10-30%) of all people who
browse are even aware of all of this. I, as a site designer, not only have
to appeal to people who follow the original ideals, but also the ones that
are here more for fun, and visual excitement. Because of this, and because
HTML is fairly restrictive as a *layout* language, I can't really achieve
both while using HTML as intended. I choose my own personal brand of
in-between-ism, using some of David Siegel's tricks, some of my own,
some of HTML's strengths, and let that be my philosophy.

> Carsten, I'm not accusing either you or Siegel of having
>this attitude; but it's you that walked in here with your
>mind made up (in fact your views may have moderated since).

Actually, although of course I have opinions, my entry was with a question,
not a statement. I have learned a few things since entering, but mostly
small stuff, and my basic philosophy has not changed.

>In one of the first responses to your original inquiry, I said
>that Siegel's views have been articulately defended here by
>his associates and desciples (I was referring to Todd Fahrner,
>among others, whose comments have been useful in their own
>right, as well as helping to illuminate DS's goals for the
>curious.) Over and over again I have cited DS's useful advice
>on browser configuration, while pointing out the limitations
>of his advice on "web page design," A couple of weeks ago I
>quoted Siegel extensively to show that he approves and endorses
>the W3C's style sheet recommendations, and that he has spoken to
>and worked with the W3C in their efforts to provide "presentation"
>for many that does not result in blocking access or legibility to
>many others. In other words, he regards his "solutions" as
>temporary stopgaps, or, as he now so aptly puts it, "duct tape."

Yes, you are one of the few who give him credit for being a thinking
man. Others are quicker to condemn, despite the fact that we are
talking exclusively about opinions, even if some of them come from
heavy-weights like TBL.

> I think Alan's point (or one of his points) is that by offering
>a "duct tape" solution instead of working to fully implement style
>sheets at least two years ago, DS has created and encouraged a
>generation of "web page designers" that know of nothing but duct
>tape, meanwhile leaving the Web "suspended in Gaffa," as Kate Bush
>puts it (gaffa=gaffer's tape=duct tape), along with all those who
>depend on or sympathize with Tim BL's vision of portability and
>accessibility.

20-20 hindsight. This is not terribly useful now, and any number of people
could have made that observation. What do we do is the current question.
And each of us is answering it on his or her own.



>AJF>The WWW aims to make many different media available. The only way to
>AJF>make typography reliably available is via some technique other than
>AJF>HTML, e.g images or PDF.
>
>> Or... an image of text. There are ways, although you don't use them.
>
> The problems with that have been pointed out over and over
>again. You know perfectly well that HTML text is scalable and
>configurable, and can be seen by the viewer in whatever font,
>size, or color may suit that viewer's eyesight, viewing conditions,
>and esthetic preference, none of which the author knows. An image
>of text is non-configurable, non-scalable (on most graphical
>browsers), and, at least in the case of fancy initials, non-
>searchable, or have you lately searched the web for "etscape"?

ALT text does not show up in searches?

>DS> The web is a visual medium,
>
>AJF>Is it? I thought it was the browsers that rendered web documents into
>AJF>visual form. And surely, that is where the design effort is most badly
>AJF>needed.
>
>> Come now, would the web have taken off if graphics had not been available?
>
> Missed the point! What the world needs from visually-astute
>designers like David Siegel is a browser that renders standard
>HTML in a way that incorporates the principles of typography and
>design that Siegel espouses. Perhaps the browser would come
>bundled with some of Siegel's favorite fonts. The standard
>HTML elements--headings, paragraphs, lists, and tables, would
>default to margins, spacing, leading, and other that conform
>to Siegel's ideas. For example, the <P> element would be
>indented at the first line, and not throw an additional linefeed
>at the end, providing for a print-like appearance of running text.

A brave idea, but David is a designer, and loves design. He is not
a software guy, and would likely not find it nearly as interesting. That
is his choice, at least for now.

> In addition, the browser would support stylesheets, which
>DS strongly supports, which would allow expert designers to
>refine the presentation still further. But there would always
>be the fallback to the default, which would still be both
>legible and pleasing for most viewers, and easily configurable
>to special requirements. The Siegel browser could be the first
>mass-market browser to support HTML 3.2 and CSS1 *completely*,
>and could also pioneer in support of the OBJECT element for
>other media of all types, as well as RFC 1945 Tables, with
>their enhanced scalability and speed. Promoted by his websites
>and his books, as well as his considerable public relations
>acumen, this could truly become a "killer appplication," or at
>least a "killer browser," which would make every site a "killer
>site."
>
> Authors would then concentrate on providing clear, durable,
>well-organized content, instead of worrying about ugly rendering
>or passing fads in web design (like Siegel's own concept of
>deliberately *avoiding* standard HTML constructs because they
>are so poorly presented in current browsers). Well-paid style
>sheet specialists would develop, who could provide that added
>edge for artistic and commercial sites. And the name of Siegel
>would go down in history, blessed by designers and purists alike,
>cursed only by his hapless competitors...
>
> Any takers?

I think that this is a great idea, but ultimately egos get in the way. The
best products out there are the brain-child of one person. The strongest
visions are those undiluted by committees. The above would be great, but
it will never happen unless one person sits down and does it.

Carsten Whimster

unread,
Feb 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/15/97
to

In <Pine.HPP.3.95a.97021...@hpplus10.cern.ch>, "Alan J. Flavell" <fla...@mail.cern.ch> writes:
>On Sat, 15 Feb 1997, Carsten Whimster wrote:
>
>> what do *you* use as a measuring stick?
>
>As an overall criterion: fitness for purpose
>
>As detailed criteria, in no particular order:
>
>- Content
>- Appropriate choice of media for purpose
>- Accessibility to widest range of browsing environments.
>
>Of course, if the _purpose_ is visual, then I'm willing to confine
>consideration to visual browsing environments. With HTML itself,
>that isn't predicated.

I presume that you are not using "predicated" in the "logical" sense, since
you provide no evidence, merely your own set of criteria. So I am not
sure what you mean here. I presume that somehow you are saying that HTML
should not be used this way.

Think of hammers and screws. Hammers are not made for screws. But in
the case of the HTML comparison, no screwdrivers have been made available
so you either have to content yourself with hammering in nails, or if you
really want to put a screw in, you can use the hammer anyway. I realize
that my example is comical, and self-deprecating, but this is more or
less the situation. HTML was not made for design control, but some
people want to use it for that anyway. So they do. And although this is not
what TBL had in mind, he can't stop anyone from doing it.

In David Siegel's case, the screw he put in (his site), offends some and
thrills others. He is interested in those that are thrilled. What is your
problem with this? It is a free world, n'est-ce pas?

>> Come now, would the web have taken off if graphics had not been available?
>

>Please re-read the paragraph "The WWW aims to make many different media
>available...".

I can't. You removed it. Please leave it in. I spend enough time on this
thread without having to use Dejanews to retrieve my own text.

>> Graphics is the main attraction. Text is also available,
>

>Ah, now we're beginning to get to it. I say that the WWW aims to make
>many different media available, but you prefer to deprecate text. Well,
>now who's letting their personal preferences get in the way?

But they are not "in the way"! They are my choices, and I assert my right
to make them. What gets me upset is that people like you want to crucify
me for this. Text is great for content, but visual excitement cannot be
replaced by any amount of text.

Carsten Whimster

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Feb 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/15/97
to

In <w4u3neh...@loiosh.kei.com>, Christopher Davis <c...@loiosh.kei.com> writes:
>AJF> == "Alan J. Flavell" <fla...@mail.cern.ch>
>CW> == Carsten Whimster <bcrw...@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
>
> AJF> I see little evidence of it yet. The most popular browser has one
> AJF> of the worst visual presentations of standard HTML.
>
> CW> All a matter of taste. It is not perfect, but it is not that bad either.
>
>If it's not that bad, why is it so important to override it? :-)

Do you mean why do I use tricks to lay out stuff? If so, then the reason
is more because of limitations in the HTML standard than in Netscape's
implementation. If superior layout constructs were in the standard, I am
fairly confident that we would see them in Netscape in short order. In fact,
I think we will likely see them in Netscape before we see them in the
standard, but only time will show whether I am right.

Warren Steel

unread,
Feb 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/15/97
to

I said:
> > Tim BL's vision of making the world's knowledge available and
> >retrievable by all (or at least the maximum) of the world's people
> >is a high-minded goal, as well as an intensely practical one,
> >one that can be of great advantage to commercial enterprises
> >in publicizing their products and services. As I said before,
> >it's only natural that attempts to subvert this goal by placing
> >unnecessary obstacles in the viewer's way will be met by some
> >indignation, not only from those excluded, but also from those
> >who still maintain that vision. I grant you, self-righteousness
> >is not attractive, but neither is an inflated self-image posing
> >as art, which I see daily among designers who say "see it my
> >way or the highway, bud" and who view legitimate user preferences
> >as "scrawling a moustache on the Mona Lisa," to borrow a phrase
> >that's actually been used in this newsgroup.

Carsten Whimster wrote:
> Well, that's a little harsh, but I see what you mean.

I'll say. A Siegel employee once described the user-configured
web browser, in the hands of anyone but the master, as "your
private decoder ring with its sordid little set of personal
preferences and filters." Of course, he was promoting the
fixed-size, fixed-display print model of the Web. I prefer
to think of the jazz composer as a more apt analogy. He may
not approve of every performance of his work, but he can be
sure that each one will be different, and that they will take
varied forms.


> > I think Alan's point (or one of his points) is that by offering
> >a "duct tape" solution instead of working to fully implement style
> >sheets at least two years ago, DS has created and encouraged a
> >generation of "web page designers" that know of nothing but duct
> >tape, meanwhile leaving the Web "suspended in Gaffa," as Kate Bush
> >puts it (gaffa=gaffer's tape=duct tape), along with all those who
> >depend on or sympathize with Tim BL's vision of portability and
> >accessibility.
> 20-20 hindsight. This is not terribly useful now, and any number of people
> could have made that observation. What do we do is the current question.
> And each of us is answering it on his or her own.

Who said anything about hindsight? Two years ago, the same
people were saying the same thing. Had Siegel embraced and
promoted style sheets then, with the same vigor that he promoted
"duct tape," he might now be looking at the Web with less revulsion.
We might now be using better browsers, that support style sheets
more completely. His conversion, like that of Microsoft, is a
bit late.

[ images of text ]


> > You know perfectly well that HTML text is scalable and
> >configurable, and can be seen by the viewer in whatever font,
> >size, or color may suit that viewer's eyesight, viewing conditions,
> >and esthetic preference, none of which the author knows. An image
> >of text is non-configurable, non-scalable (on most graphical
> >browsers), and, at least in the case of fancy initials, non-
> >searchable, or have you lately searched the web for "etscape"?
> ALT text does not show up in searches?

ALT text shows up in searches. But <img=fancy-n.gif
alt="N">etscape does not show up as "Netscape."

[ a challenge: the Siegel "killer browser" ]

> I think that this is a great idea, but ultimately egos get in the way. The
> best products out there are the brain-child of one person. The strongest
> visions are those undiluted by committees. The above would be great, but
> it will never happen unless one person sits down and does it.

That may explain why Opera, with a small team of developers,
is so much more responsive to users' needs than Netscape or MS.
But it doesn't address the question of why a Siegel browser,
created by the "artist," or at least inspired by his goals,
could not become a reality.

J.D. Baldwin

unread,
Feb 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/16/97
to

In article <Pine.HPP.3.95a.97021...@hpplus10.cern.ch>,

Alan J. Flavell <fla...@mail.cern.ch> wrote:
>Today's lesson is taken from: http://www.dsiegel.com/damage/
>
>| If you are using Netscape, and your fonts aren't too big, this page
>| looks as I intended. The first line of text in this paragraph should
>| end on or near the word "browser." If you are using another browser,
>| and the text goes all the way across the screen, please set your text
>| size and window width so the first sentence stands alone on one line.
>| Also, I recommend you turn link underlining off and set your
>| background to white.

And later on that same page, this idiot-savant (you can emphasize
whichever half of that you like) gives us this gem of unintentional
humor:

Look at it this way: if you've got the most important web page
in the world, wouldn't it be worth some of your time to
present it well? You wouldn't want to make it difficult to
get the information, would you?

This is from a guy who started the same page with a hundred-odd words
of his text embedded in a 33K+ GIF file. And the ALT tag for it
contains fewer than 20% of them. It then moves on to a paragraph that
starts out with "This page either looks right or it doesn't." Except
the opening "T" is a graphic image, and since you can't get one-fifth
of a single letter into an ALT tag, it's omitted entirely, leaving a
substantial portion of the browsing community wondering who the hell
is being talked about in the sentence "his page either looks right or
it doesn't."

I'd hire this guy Siegel to do my annual report or my corporate
brochure, or other printed matter in a second; he is truly talented.
Too bad he's missed the point of the web so badly.
--
From the catapult of J.D. Baldwin |+| "If anyone disagrees with anything I
_,_ Finger bal...@netcom.com |+| say, I am quite prepared not only to
_|70|___:::)=}- for PGP public |+| retract it, but also to deny under
\ / key information. |+| oath that I ever said it." --T. Lehrer
***~~~~-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Louie

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Feb 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/16/97
to

David Siegel <da...@verso.com> wrote:

>Hi everyone,
<snip>

>On my *personal* site, I


>don't even put ALT tags just to send a message to those surfing without
>images. My life is visual. I love museums. How would you like to visit
>the Louvre with images turned off?

(emphasis mine)

All right, if the images are purely decorative I have no problem with
this. What does bug me, however, is when an image LINK has no ALT
(especially those stupid forms buttons that won't let you submit or
download until you've first loaded an image that says "submit" or
"download", which means you often have to load every image on the page
just to find out where the buttons are!). Come on, David, isn't it
logical that people should at least have the option of _navegating_
imagelessly to the page they're interested in loading the images from?
And since you've pointed out the word "personal", does that mean you
consider ALT texts advisable for commercial pages? What I dislike most
about some pages is not being able to navegate them without loading a
bunch of images (I'm in Spain and my connection is often slow). A word
from David Siegel might mean a lot.

<snip>

All the best (and I will fill out your form),

--
Louie
louie$visca.com
Change the $ for a you-know-what.
http://www.visca.com/

Alan J. Flavell

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Feb 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/16/97
to

On Sat, 15 Feb 1997, Mark Johnson wrote:

> "Alan J. Flavell" <fla...@mail.cern.ch> wrote:
>

> >The WWW aims to make many different media available.

..


> >> The web is a visual medium,
> >
> >Is it?

The web certainly includes visual media. And audio, and text, and
anything else that can be conveyed electronically.

> Increasingly so.

Why would it increase? You keep telling us that every reader worthy
of your consideration is _already_ equipped with Netscape or MS IE, so
it seems that (in your view) the market is already covered for visual
media. I'm hearing more and more users say that they turned off image
loading because it took too long. I haven't had so many enquiries about
Lynx in the whole of the last couple of years as in the last few months.

As far as I'm concerned, one of the major features of the WWW
is the repertoire of search engines. Now, tell me that those search
engines work "visually".

Stewart Dean

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Feb 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/16/97
to

David Siegel <da...@verso.com> wrote:

>Hi everyone,
>


On my personal site, I
>don't even put ALT tags just to send a message to those surfing without
>images. My life is visual. I love museums. How would you like to visit
>the Louvre with images turned off?

The web is about one thing - information. How you choose to
communicate that information is a personal thing. I can think of no
reason, other than laziness, _not_ to add alt tags. It will not
detract from you page and are not used purely for people who cant see
images. They allow people to navigate before an image has downloaded,
give more information for pictures which are obscure and generally
garantee more compatability with the many browsers technologies we are
not aware of.

> The web is a visual medium, and not to design
>is to design. Personally, I'd rather leave the design up to professionals
>than programmers, but hey -- that's me.

I don't see designers and programmers, I see old school computer users
and new school.

Let me explain (please note these are extremes)..

Old school.

Programmer - computers are god, people are second. Graphic user
interfaces are for wimps and optimized code is more important then
useable programs. If the program works without crashing I have done
my job.

Designer - I must have complete controll over the medium. If people
don't want to see what I do, how I want them to and don't understand
it then they deserve to see anything at all. If they have slow
machines, colour blindness, cannot grasp the cultural language or
reference points then I am therefore above them and they are not
worthy of my amazing visuals. For me to be seen to be designing is
all important - the content is always second.


New school

Programmer - People are all improtant, computers are just a medium.
Logical flow and navigation are important in building my product. It
should be easy to understand and use, cross platform and require very
little systems resources. The best code in the world is useless
unless it can be used.

Designers - I desgin in layers not only visualy but in all senses of
the word. My work can be viewed and understood by as many people as
possible. Any culutral references and 'propietry' stuff can be
ignored. My work can be degraded and still keep much of it's
information. The text on its own makes sense, the pictures, icons and
overall navigation are clear and understandable. I aim to make the
design 'invisable'. Content is king.


Personally I am both a designer and a programmer who works in a
commercial web authoring company and I can assure you there is no wall
between 'designers' and 'programmers' here.


Stewart Dean - web slave

http://www.foresight.co.uk/stewart/

Warren Steel

unread,
Feb 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/16/97
to Stewart Dean

Stewart Dean wrote:
> Old school...
> Programmer - computers are god, people are second....
> Designer - I must have complete controll over the medium....
> New school
> Programmer - People are all improtant, computers are just a medium...
> Designers - I desgin in layers.... Content is king.

Good analysis, Stewart. Though we have disagreed more than
once about how to carry out these goals, I agree with you here.

Tor Iver Wilhelmsen

unread,
Feb 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/16/97
to

bcrw...@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca (Carsten Whimster) writes:
>
>Do you mean why do I use tricks to lay out stuff? If so, then the reason
>is more because of limitations in the HTML standard than in Netscape's
>implementation. If superior layout constructs were in the standard, I am
>fairly confident that we would see them in Netscape in short order. In fact,
>I think we will likely see them in Netscape before we see them in the
>standard, but only time will show whether I am right.

Yes, but the whole point of SGML/HTML is to separate style from substance:
Substance in HTML, style in CSS1. If Netscape/MS hadn't started to hack a
limited layoutish attribute set into HTML, we could have seen CSS1 much
earlier. Add to that the "blindfolded" use of CENTER as a tag, when you
already had ALIGN attributes for the tags in question? Opera, for
instance, supports <TABLE ALIGN=center> - Netscape doesn't (at least in
3.01).

- Tor Iver

--
Substitute Assistant CEO of Opening Tins of Dog Food of the DNRC.
tor...@pvv.org * http://www.pvv.org/%7Etoriver * Rush: Cut to the Chase
"I'm old enough not to care too much about what you think of me
But I'm young enough to remember the future and the way things ought to be"

Carsten Whimster

unread,
Feb 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/16/97
to

In <330729...@olemiss.edu>, Warren Steel <mu...@olemiss.edu> writes:
>Stewart Dean wrote:
>> Old school...
>> Programmer - computers are god, people are second....
>> Designer - I must have complete controll over the medium....
>> New school
>> Programmer - People are all improtant, computers are just a medium...
>> Designers - I desgin in layers.... Content is king.
>
> Good analysis, Stewart. Though we have disagreed more than
>once about how to carry out these goals, I agree with you here.

Me too, although, again, I disagree about where to draw the line, which
isn't as obvious as it could be. It is a question of degrees, frequently, not
of yes or no.

Liam Quinn

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Feb 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/16/97
to

On Sat, 15 Feb 1997 21:59:35 GMT, 1023...@compuserve.com (Mark
Johnson) wrote:

>We are on the cusp
>of a change from flat color, list-oriented hyperlinks to full-on, full
>screen video. This inbetween, now, with all sorts of plug-ins and
>add-ons and streaming audios, all of which sort of work and sort of
>don't, mostly due to narrow bandwidth of landlines and current
>compression algorithms, is that content and style or presentation form
>a balance, or mix, which I think rather than be fought or avoided
>ought to be embraced. It might well be that the future holds not so
>much content, as fluff - not so much HTML as image map buttons that
>enable you merely to change channels - not an internet that demands
>active participation and involvement, but one geared to make every one
>else couch spuds. (after all, it may not pay for an advertiser to make
>avail the catalog when he's got some professional actors to sell you
>on one particular item through sales gimics and a skit, i.e.
>commercials - and so on)

I already have a TV. It's cheaper than my computer, gives nicer
pictures and video, and I don't have to wait an hour to see a ten
second video that's the size of a stamp.

>>there is no way that anyone can
>>make visual appeal universally available via HTML.
>

>Which is no argument to impoverish a page because not just everyone,
>in a perfect world, can see it the way you intended.

I don't think anyone is arguing to "impoverish" a page, but just to
take steps to ensure that the page is accessible. Accessibility does
not equal drabness or impoverishment.

>>The WWW aims to make many different media available. The only way to
>>make typography reliably available is via some technique other than
>>HTML, e.g images or PDF.
>

>This might be true if we didn't know that, presently, NN and IE pretty
>much own the market.

No, it's still true, and probably even more so, since Netscape does
not provide a way to reliably specify word spacing, line height,
letter spacing, font size, text indentation, margins, etc.

>>> The web is a visual medium,
>>
>>Is it?
>

>Increasingly so.

Possibly. But what about listening to Web sites while driving to
work, or while waiting on hold on the phone (I'd rather surf the Web
than listen to Muzak)? Don't close the door to these possibilities
just because you want your computer to be a television.

Liam Quinn
=============== http://www.htmlhelp.com/%7Eliam/ ===============
Web Design Group Enhanced Designs, Web Site Development
http://www.htmlhelp.com/ http://enhanced-designs.com/

Todd Fahrner

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Feb 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/16/97
to

Warren Steel wrote:

> I'll say. A Siegel employee once described the user-configured
> web browser, in the hands of anyone but the master, as "your
> private decoder ring with its sordid little set of personal
> preferences and filters." Of course, he was promoting the
> fixed-size, fixed-display print model of the Web.

I have never advocated a "fixed-size, fixed-display print model,"
Warren. Even in the months-old thread you refer to (1), I speak
enthusiastically of "a 2-D layout model appropriate for areas of varying
geometry and resolution." And in my W3C ERB activities I have pushed
this. Part of the record is public, in the archives of the www-style
listserv (or ask Mssrs Pozadzides and Quinn).

As for your "challenge," we don't need to build a browser - overturning
NS and MS together is a pipe dream. We need to build comprehensive
stylesheets, and continue to kick, scream, and pray that NS and MS will
do the right thing by implementing CSS in a rich, mutually interoperable
fashion, with no vendor-driven script-language dependencies (like J*SS).

But I ask you, from a strictly commercial, short-term point-of-view: why
should either of these parties make it easy for author/designers to make
sites that look great and work well in the other guys' browser? And do
you think that MS will continue to be so well-behaved with regard to
open standards <em>after</em> they drive a spike through the Mozilla's
heart?


1.http://xp7.dejanews.com/getdoc.xp?recnum=%3cR.3244...@pobox.com%3e&search=thread&threaded=1&NTL=1&server=dnserver.db96q4&CONTEXT=856056151.30687&hitnum=63
________________________________________
Todd Fahrner
fah...@pobox.com

The printed page transcends space and time. The printed page, the
infinitude of books, must be transcended. THE ELECTRO-LIBRARY.

--El Lissitzky, 1923

Leonard Grossman

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Feb 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/16/97
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In article <33076192...@news.golden.net>,
li...@htmlhelp.com (Liam Quinn) wrote:

>I already have a TV. It's cheaper than my computer, gives nicer
>pictures and video, and I don't have to wait an hour to see a ten
>second video that's the size of a stamp.
>


Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

Commercial interests and others can't envision the free form
exchange of ideas that was the Web, so they try to cast in in terms
that are more familiar to them, attempting to ape television as
though that medium were the ultimate form of expression.

As pages supposedly become more and more "interactive", using more
and more "multimedia" elements, users actually become more and more
passive.

This is not to denigrate pages are attractive that focus on grapical
images, but there is no reason such pages cannot be accessible to
all.

Len

BTW: Please enjoy my Valentine present to the Web at
<http://www.mcs.net/~grosman/rose.htm> although it may take a few
seconds to load.


Leonard Grossman gros...@mcs.net
Notes from a ModemJunkie <URL:http://www.mcs.net/~grossman/>
Genesis in Glass <URL:http://www.mcs.net/~grossman/gropper.htm>

Colin F Reynolds

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Feb 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/16/97
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In article <5e33a1$cch$1...@nntp2.ba.best.com>, David Siegel
<da...@verso.com> writes

<snip>

>My life is visual. I love museums. How would you like to visit
>the Louvre with images turned off?

The Louvre is visual (although I understand blind people are allowed to
touch the statues) - the Web is not.

This comment is so specious that it caused me to wonder whether this
person claiming to be David Siegel was in fact an imposter, but since
www.verso.com claims this man as its own, I guess that if I were to call
"fake!" I'd be classed along with those who say that the Iliad was not
written by Homer but by another Greek of the same name... :)

<snippette>

> Keep in mind that the purists
>are protecting some pretty fetid ground.

Not at all; some people are merely trying to point out that there is
more to the WWW than the ephemeral glitter of visual appeal.

> Most of the content is garbage,
>and most of my content turns to garbage after some reasonably short
>period of time. So to protect gossip and bad writing as information is
>shaky ground.

More speciousness.

> Trying to find quality on the web is like trying to find
>arable land in antarctica.

The pursuit of quality is always admirable - unfortunately most of
humanity is only human :) - and I believe Antarctica is a natural
reserve, so even if you were to find arable land, you couldn't farm it
anyway. Does it reveal something about your character that you chose
this particular simile?

> The web is a visual medium,

I beg to differ.

> and not to design
>is to design.

Excuse me? You could at least speak English.

> Personally, I'd rather leave the design up to professionals
>than programmers

Some programmers are professionals, too. Design is not the exclusive
domain of the visual layout artist.

I for one do not feel that your post to this group did much to enhance
your reputation. Or was it your intent to create dissention instead of
harmony?
--
Colin Reynolds, Managing Director mailto:co...@the-net-effect.com
The Net Effect (World Wide) Ltd http://www.the-net-effect.com/
PO Box 78 Chesterfield Tel: +44 (0)1246 450 901
S43 1YZ United Kingdom Fax: +44 (0)1246 450 902

Ann

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Feb 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/16/97
to

Leonard Grossman <gros...@mcs.com> wrote

: BTW: Please enjoy my Valentine present to the Web at

: <http://www.mcs.net/~grosman/rose.htm> although it may take a few
: seconds to load.

More than a few, I'm afraid...but, thanks for the thought. :-)

"404 Not Found

The requested URL /~grosman/rose.htm was not found on this server. "

Leonard Grossman

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Feb 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/16/97
to

In article <01bc1c58$77e61b40$4c49...@afrenchs.epix.net>,


BLUSH


You'd think I could type my own name by now.

The correct url is <http://www.mcs.net/~grossman/rose.htm>

There are 2 Ss in grossman.

Talk about accessibility.

Thanks for letting me know.

Len

Dennis Bathory-Kitsz

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Feb 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/16/97
to

Colin F Reynolds wrote:
>
> In article <5e33a1$cch$1...@nntp2.ba.best.com>, David Siegel
> <da...@verso.com> writes
>
> >My life is visual. I love museums. How would you like to visit
> >the Louvre with images turned off?
>
> The Louvre is visual (although I understand blind people are allowed to
> touch the statues) - the Web is not.

Wrong. The web is the medium you make it. How you choose to limit
yourself will not limit others.



> Not at all; some people are merely trying to point out that there is
> more to the WWW than the ephemeral glitter of visual appeal.

Ah. The ephemeral glitter of 'Guernica' or 'Nude Descending a
Staircase'. The epherma of 'Music for 18 Instruments' or composers'
works created in electronic from. The ephemera is all the world that is
not words, is that what you mean? I think not.

> > and not to design
> >is to design.
>
> Excuse me? You could at least speak English.

Not to make a choice is to make a choice. This is in {class:aphorism}

--
Dennis Báthory-Kitsz
Malted/Media: http://www.maltedmedia.com/
The Middle-Aged Hiker: http://www.maltedmedia.com/books/mah/
Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar: http://www.maltedmedia.com/kalvos/

Andrew Charlton

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Feb 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/16/97
to

1023...@compuserve.com (Mark Johnson) wrote:

>"Alan J. Flavell" <fla...@mail.cern.ch> wrote:

>>The WWW aims to make many different media available. The only way to
>>make typography reliably available is via some technique other than
>>HTML, e.g images or PDF.
>
>This might be true if we didn't know that, presently, NN and IE pretty
>much own the market.

And if pages are written that only work well on those browsers, then people
get locked into using them. When consumer choice is limited, that can only
be bad news for the industry.

Imagine if a browser came out tomorrow, which had designed into it a
default of 12 words per line and everything else typographers have learned
about readability and design (Or at least those parts which translate well
to the WWW).

No-one would be able to use it, because of all the pages out there that are
assuming that a web browser is going to fill up an entire screen, and that
line-lengths under those circumstances are going to be too long, and so
forth. Because everyone uses tricks to modify Netscape's ugly default
presentation, you make it difficult for something better to come along.

Certainly, it doesn't do to live entirely in the future, but Web Pollution
may just be setting us up for a worse future than might otherwise be
possible. Still, just as in real life, until it becomes financially viable
to care about things like that, businesses won't. (WDG = The Greenpeace of
the WWW?)

>If one uses a small screen appliance, then one
>has to be prepared for notepad-like results. One must know this before
>buying the thing.

No-one is arguing that you should be able to see multimedia animations in
Lynx. Merely that Lynx users not be sold short. Show Lynx users what they
CAN see, don't lock them out because they can't see absolutely everything.

Maybe David Siegel's world is entirely visual, and text users won't be able
to see his message. Most people, though, are still providing primarily
textual content with images and everything else as extra.

>If one uses B & W, then one can't expect to see
>color (though it might be nice if web designers didn't exclusively
>_rely_ on color, for this reason - particularly for navigation).

Exactly!

>The 14-17 in display on a desktop must be assumed.

Why?
--
____/\___ |Andrew D. Charlton This message best viewed with Agent
___/__\__) |---------<->--------- -------------
(__/ \__ |mailto:char...@ihug.co.nz | Agent NOW |
/ \ |http://crash.ihug.co.nz/~charlton/andrew/ -------------

Carsten Whimster

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Feb 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/17/97
to

In <Ylp6EmAJ...@tne.co.uk>, Colin F Reynolds <co...@the-net-effect.com> writes:
>In article <5e33a1$cch$1...@nntp2.ba.best.com>, David Siegel
><da...@verso.com> writes
>
><snip>

>
>>My life is visual. I love museums. How would you like to visit
>>the Louvre with images turned off?
>
>The Louvre is visual (although I understand blind people are allowed to
>touch the statues) - the Web is not.
>
>This comment is so specious ...

What?!? We obviously have different *opinions* on this. If the web were
not visual, I wouldn't be here, and neither would many others. You may
prefer that type of web, though...

>> The web is a visual medium,
>
>I beg to differ.

Again!

>I for one do not feel that your post to this group did much to enhance
>your reputation. Or was it your intent to create dissention instead of
>harmony?

He is not out to "enhance" his reputation. Just to explain his position
in person. Of course, for some of us, that does indeed enhance his
reputation. For others, it enhances his infamy :) Opinions all.

Carsten Whimster

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Feb 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/17/97
to

In <5e834n$kmb$1...@Nntp1.mcs.net>, gros...@mcs.com (Leonard Grossman) writes:
>In article <01bc1c58$77e61b40$4c49...@afrenchs.epix.net>,
> "Ann" <afre...@epix.net> wrote:
>>Leonard Grossman <gros...@mcs.com> wrote
>>
>>: BTW: Please enjoy my Valentine present to the Web at
>>: <http://www.mcs.net/~grosman/rose.htm> although it may take a few
>>: seconds to load.
>

That's a really nice looking picture, Leonard, and your daughter obviously
has talent. I thought an adult wrote that first. Happy Valentine's Day to
you both.

J. Kivi Shapiro

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Feb 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/17/97
to

In article <E5o41...@watserv3.uwaterloo.ca>,

Carsten Whimster <bcrw...@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca> wrote:
>In David Siegel's case, the screw he put in (his site), offends some and
>thrills others.

Problem is, it's not in all the way. (What do you expect from someone
using a hammer?) It holds the bookcase together as long as you put the
books on a particular shelf, but if you put them anywhere else, the
bookcase falls down. But what if that shelf isn't an option, or is
inconvenient, why shouldn't I be able to put my books on some other
shelf?

Magic metaphor decoder ring:
bookcase = web site
screws etc. = components of web site
screw = design-based markup
nail = content-based markup
hammer = html (good with nails, not good with screws)
screwdriver = desk-top publishing package (vice versa)
placing books = viewing a site
shelf = browser used to view site with

- Kivi
(Okay, there are some problems with this metaphor. But it works as far
as I need it to.)
--
ksha...@julian.uwo.ca or ki...@pobox.com (Kivi Shapiro)
It's all right. I'm a librarian.

Andrew Charlton

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Feb 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/17/97
to

>In article <5e33a1$cch$1...@nntp2.ba.best.com>, David Siegel
><da...@verso.com> writes
>> Personally, I'd rather leave the design up to professionals
>>than programmers

There's something I agree with. Given that the WWW is a medium for the
masses (Well, the ones that can afford computers), it is not reasonable for
every web page to be beautifully designed by a professional.

Professional designers should team up with programmers to make a browser
that would render HTML the way they want. Then EVERY page could in effect
be designed by a professional.

Alan J. Flavell

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Feb 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/17/97
to

On Sun, 16 Feb 1997, Todd Fahrner wrote:

> But I ask you, from a strictly commercial, short-term point-of-view: why
> should either of these parties make it easy for author/designers to make
> sites that look great and work well in the other guys' browser?

This is an excellent argument for authors to avoid the proprietary
add-ons of any commercial browser, and keep insisting on a
widely-implemented common standard.

COBOL (don't scoff) didn't get to be such a widespread programming
language by having dozens of different vendor-defined syntaxes.
Neither did FORTRAN. Why HTML?

--

"1996 was 2.6% up on weirdness compared with 1995, but still didn't
reach the weirdness level of 1993" - news brief on ITV teletext


Carsten Whimster

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Feb 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/17/97
to

In <331cb873...@snews.zippo.com>, jo...@htmlhelp.com (John Pozadzides) writes:

>On Sat, 15 Feb 1997 14:26:50 GMT, bcrw...@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca
>(Carsten Whimster) wrote:
>
>>Come now, would the web have taken off if graphics had not been available?
>>It took off when Mosaic came out, and even more when Netscape came out.
>>Graphics is the main attraction. Text is also available, but it is a side-show.
>
>Now, that was a very bad, bad argument. Are you telling me that if you
>want to learn how to do something on the web, you would really like to
>have far more pictures than text? So since I have all kinds of Windows95
>information and Arj information on my personal site, all of the tens of
>thousands or hundreds of thousands of his that have come to it are
>because of the little Johns Site logo on the top of the pages?
>
>You are flat out wrong here. Everything you do on the web it text based
>because that is the manner in which modern humans communicate. The
>images are merely the Spices of the Web.

You are stretching what I said much further than I ever meant it. I am
saying that if the graphics left today, so would the people. I agree that
the content is mostly text, though.

Carsten Whimster

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Feb 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/17/97
to

In <frantic-ya0240800...@news.primenet.com>, fra...@snip-to-email.primenet.com (david s. broudy) writes:
>
>David Siegel sez:
>
>- >Watch the coming
>- >bookstore wars. Amazon.com will have a lot of competition. All of them
>- >will have great selection, service, and advice on what to buy.
>
>Heh. One thing the web can never provide me is the experience of a lazy
>Sunday afternoon of browsing (in the truest sense of the word) at a huge
>bookstore, esp. one with great coffee and comfy chairs.

I agree, but that wasn't David's point anyway.

>Maybe when we all have 500Mbit household network connections and stuff,
>your vision will have reached a point where the bandwidth can support it.
>At 28.8bps, "3rd generation" web sites are excruciatingly, painfully,
>unusably slow.

Patently false. I have seen many 3rd generation sites that weigh in under
50k, and I have also seen 2nd generation sites that were killed by the use
of too many icons, too many horizontal rules, and so on. 3rd generation
doesn't mean "lots of graphics"; it has more to do with creative layout,
new ideas, and the complete experience. In 2nd generation design, too much
emphasis is put on the individual images, to the detriment of the whole.

Tomas Dylan Clark

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Feb 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/17/97
to

jo...@htmlhelp.com (John Pozadzides) writes:
>You are flat out wrong here. Everything you do on the web it text based
>because that is the manner in which modern humans communicate. The
>images are merely the Spices of the Web.

I must disagree to some extent - text is certainly the core of
communication on the Web, but design, images, video and audio are
often much more than "window-dressing," and text is most certainly
NOT the only manner in which modern humans communicate. In fact,
some people believe that design and visual stimuli are even more
important to communication than textual information is -- look at
a stop sign. It says "stop," but some would argue that the message
is primarily conveyed by the octagonal shape and red-white color
scheme; you don't even need to be literate to understand the meaning.
In times when illiteracy is rampant (not a good thing, no) design
and imagery tends to be used more and more to convey meaning to a
broader audience.

I love my words dearly, and I hardly fall into the school that says
design is more important to communication than text, but they do
have a point. I can think of numerous websites where non-textual
aspects make up, in my mind, at least "half of the message," though
that's a nebulous idea at best. Other sites rely on non-textual
elements even more, and I'm not referring to art museum sites, but
ones where design forms an integral component of what is being
communicated. On many pages non-textual elements ARE window-dressing,
but that doesn't mean they have to be; if you use multimedia with
skill, it becomes much more integrated.

I don't want to degenerate into an argument about whether the Web
or HTML are the best tools for doing this kind of stuff, because
they're obviously not. The point is that about two and a half years
ago, people began to use them for those purposes, and while I
hestitate to draw any strong conclusions, I somehow doubt that it's
entirely coincidence that the Web "took off" at around that time and
that a lot of people have an annoying tendency to define the Web as
"the interactive, multimedia portion of the Internet." People could
use HTML, ill-suited as it is, for presentation-driven design and
multimedia content, so they did. Kludges like the single-pixel GIF
and Siegel's entire career arose because of the unsuitability of
HTML, the extreme unsuitability of other formats (PDF), and the
unavailability of better tools (Stylesheets).

Okay, that's my quasi-historical analysis. Better tools are being
developed, more people are aware of the need for graceful degradation
and wider accessibility, can we move on now? I'm more concerned
about push-media taking over, to tell you the truth.


Tomas Clark
td...@columbia.edu / tcl...@iconnet.com
http://www.word.com/

Tero Paananen

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Feb 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/17/97
to

>I agree that the content is mostly text, though.

Hurray! Can I, please, print this out and frame it? :)

Next step in your enlightment is to understand why some people don't actually
get the big idea of hiding or worse yet, completely block "mostly textual
content" behind *insane* amount with of flash and frills. It always makes me
wonder, if they are trying to compensate for lack of content.

-TPP

Ben Turner

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Feb 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/17/97
to

I'm all for proper use of HTML *and* great layout and appearance. But
fuck, it's all about money with you. Do this and do that to get
money! Money money money! Spend more time with Lance and Alexis, Mr.
Siegel. They care about the Web.

<snips the rest of the advertisements and words from the almighty
father>

And you don't understand the majority purist view, either.


B.


"Nothing gets people more riled up than God, politics, and OS's."

Ben Turner . b...@benturner.com
http://www.benturner.com/

Kyler Laird

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Feb 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/17/97
to

p11...@cc.tut.fi (Tero Paananen) writes:

>>I agree that the content is mostly text, though.

>Hurray! Can I, please, print this out and frame it? :)

Oh, no! Don't start in on *frames*!

--kyler

Ben Turner

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Feb 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/17/97
to

bcrw...@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca (Carsten Whimster) wrote:

> Do you mean why do I use tricks to lay out stuff? If so, then the reason
> is more because of limitations in the HTML standard than in Netscape's
> implementation. If superior layout constructs were in the standard, I am
> fairly confident that we would see them in Netscape in short order.

We'll check back on your site and you when stylesheets are more
commonly implemented. :)

Ben Turner

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Feb 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM2/17/97