[thelist] re: My 12 year old son can do websites

David Dorward evolt at david.us-lot.org
Thu Jan 29 05:09:33 CST 2004

On 29 Jan 2004, at 10:15, john at johnallsopp.co.uk wrote:
> Won't we wake up one day to find the Dreamweaver people have taken over
> and can produce semantically marked up web pages cheaper, faster and 
> with
> higher quality than we can by hand?

Maybe, but its going to be a long time before computers are smart 
enough to
understand meaning in text and produce semantic markup from it.

> Is the main problem with WYSIWYG software that it doesn't do it very 
> well
> (proprietary/redundant code, that kinda thing)? Perhaps that the code 
> is
> overcomplex so it's difficult to maintain and when a problem arises, 
> it's
> difficult to fix. But as the software improves, and the complexity of 
> the
> task increases, won't there be a moment when, sensibly, we should 
> switch?

There are two issues with so-called-WYSIWYG editors:

(1) HTML - they can't know what the user means, so they can't know what 
right markup is.

Its perfectly possible for a WYSIWYM editor (like LyX) to do a decent 
but I haven't seen any of those for HTML yet. (Mozilla Computer and 
seem promising - but the former isn't very WYSIWYM yet, and the latter 
a horrible UI).

(2) CSS - I've yet to see an editor which can produce layouts using CSS 
using pixel based, fixed width (and sometimes fixed height) layouts - 
at least
without the user going in and setting values by hand.

> For instance, no-one suggested I should hand code that P3P stuff, 
> because
> it was an XML file .. every suggestion was that I needed a WYSIWYG aid.
> Yet the file itself was fairly clear.

Isn't P3P a matter of picking options from a list rather then trying to 
a layout? This sort of thing is very easy to produce a point and click 
tool for,
it deals in absolutes - and design is full of variables.

David Dorward

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