Re: Shortref [was: Re: Super and Subscripts]

Paul Grosso (
Fri, 20 Jan 95 14:50:05 EST

> From: "Daniel W. Connolly" <>
> I don't think this argument about automated HTML editing can hold
> water until the technology for it is widely deployed.
> I've looked carefully at the cost of implementing 1 character
> shortrefs in the MATH element as proposed in the HTML 3 DTD, and I can
> say with confidence that it's a _lot_ less work than writing a
> structured HTML editor.
> Remeber: HTML is _cheap technology_. If you _have_ to buy a license to
> something to use HTML, we've done something wrong.

Even if I grant that, I really question what's easier to use consistently
in a correct manner with a minimum of surprises even in cheap technology:
shortrefs or some (possibly more keystroke-intensive) tagging structure.

I note, however, that it might be a moot point. If the tagging structure
and shortrefs are both there, any user (perhaps depending on the availability
of various tools) can make her/his own decision on which to use. Of course,
by giving two ways to do it, you do incur both implementation and upkeep
overhead. Maybe that's acceptable. [Lest I'm misunderstood, while I would
hope the ArborText SGML editor will provide a WYSIWYG interface for whatever
"HTML mathematics" turns out to be, it can now input an SGML file with
shortrefs.] I just want to be sure we don't design a tagging structure
that's so complex that the only way to make it acceptable is with shortrefs,
because I believe many users will find shortrefs unacceptably difficult to use.