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What Does Markup Mean?

Tim Bray: <span class='h2'>How is Meaning Communicated?</span>


Posted by Sjoerd Visscher at

Wow, I thought that was just a good joke until I viewed the source.

Posted by Matt at

Markup for the Semantic Web?

Okay, this may be absolutly obscure to anyone not into markup languages, their standards and the battles fought over theories on them, but this entry in Sam Ruby's weblog made me roll on the floor laughing....... [more]

Trackback from Notes from my terminal


Petite perle dénichée par Sam Ruby pour les aficionados des standards. Tim Bray, dans le code source d’un billet consacré à la sémantique des balises :How is Meaning Communicated? Dommage, pour un gourou de la sémantique et du XML ;-) Peut-être, Tim...

Excerpt from Znarf News - le weblog at

Touché Sam, but still I think  Tim makes some excellent points that should not be disregarded just because he got cought using - *GASP!!* - &gt;span> instead of &lt;h2>. Right?

Posted by Már Örlygsson at

Már: of course there are some excellent points in Tim's blog entry.  Furthermore, I'll bet that there is an interesting story behind Tim's use of <span>.  In fact, I'll bet that Tim used <span> for exactly the same reason that I use <h2> in my html: in order to preserve the visual appearance for non-CSS enabled browsers.  Try it: since we both use relative URLs in our pages, simply wget or curl the page to your server and see what you end up with.

This being said, I believe that there is more to the story.  Tim's use of the class attribute aludes to the existance of CSS.  With CSS, the concept that unordered lists have bullets becomes a rather maleable notion.  I've seen unordered lists being used for dropdown menus.  That's OK too.

Furthermore, I agree with Shelley.  If two elements or attributes in two different documents are from the same namespace, this is unlikely to be an accident.  From that we can infer intent.  From that we can infer meaning.

These are but two examples of where I think there is a lot more to the story.  Points that I'm sure that Tim would agree with.  And points that would augment instead of negating the points that Tim made.

Posted by Sam Ruby at

Just a wild guess but I think he did it that way because he doesn't want the line break after the heading.

Posted by Anthony at

h2 { display: inline }

Posted by Mark at

Ah, shoulda known.

Posted by Anthony at

Actually, display:inline; doesn't solve it.

He'd need to float the h2 and also, since the font-size of h2 is a wee bigger, an extra padding-top is needed for the paragraphs.

h2 { float : left; }
p { padding-top : .5em; }  /* ".5" is just my guess. */

P.S. thanks Sam, for elabourating on the subject!

Posted by Már Örlygsson at

Heh..  I suspect that there is a way to get the H2's to display inline the way I want 'em to, but after a few hours work on this I gave up and went with the span approach, which works easily in all browsers.

When I write ongoing, in emacs, I actually tag these things as h2's. 

Now here's the weird thing... after a few weeks of writing Ongoing, I realized that the inline headlines supported a special writing style, where I'd do something like (h2 text in BOLD):

MAN BITES DOG  Or so the headline said...

so that I can freely use sentence fragments in the first sentence after one of these things.  So if I wanted to find a really pedantic course of self-justification, could argue that these things aren't really classic HTML h2's any more.  But in fact it was just laziness.

Posted by Tim Bray at

Nerdish joke

This is from August, but here's a nerdish joke. It's actually kinda funny....

Excerpt from Firas at

Ok, this is way off topic, but I looked all over your site and couldn't find an e-mail address... please get rid of the comment if you wish to.

I just have a question: how in god's name did my link to this post end up cited on the page itself? It's the scariest thing I've seen in a long time.

Posted by Firas at

Firas, I didn't delete the comment, but I did move it.  There is no need to put a comment on a recent blog entry in order to get noticed, I can also view comments by date.

In any case, here is the pseudocode to what I implemented.  The motivation is described here.

Posted by Sam Ruby at

Markup refers to the sequence of characters or other symbols that you insert at certain places in a text or word processing file to indicate how the file should look when it is printed or displayed or to describe the document’s logical structure.

Posted by mybkexperience survey at

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