Re: The Legend of 'View Source'
[Danny Ayers] > Q: How do people learn markup? > A: 'View Source'. > > This notion is one of the big guns that gets wheeled out in many > permathreads - 'binary XML', 'RDF, bad' perhaps even 'XML Schema, too > complicated'. To a lot of people it's the show stopper, the argument that > can never be defeated. Not being able to view source is the reason format X > died; being able to view source is the reason for format Y's success. > > But I'm beginning to wonder if this argument really holds water any more. I do not think the point of the claim is that View Source is good for complex XML or whatever. I think the real claim is that View Source was an important factor in the amazing spread of the Web. I believe it. Even now there are many people who learn their html by looking at source and tinkering with it. This has lead to a lot of misconceptions. The real point of the argument, at least for me, is that the simplicity of the then-html _together_ with View Source made it possible for thousands and hundred of thousands of untrained non-programmers to put up web sites at low cost and in a hurry. The Web - so the claim goes - would not have grown anywhere near what it did otherwise. I think there is a lot in this notion. Why is the argument being made these days? Because for a similar phenomenon to happen with newer technologies (like the Semantic Web, perhaps, if that could be called a "technology"?), there needs to be both View Source AND simplicity. We have the view source if we stick with readable XML, etc. But do we have simplicity? Not on your life. Where we _do_ have simplicity, we get grass-roots growth and invention - and here RSS comes in as an example. Like Dare, I bet that most people working with RSS probably started out with View Source. After all, the specs are not that wonderful, so you really have to look at examples. Do we want more grass-roots growth, and the involvement of large numbers of people with little training or background? Give them View Source and Simplicity! Cheers, Tom P
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