Lost in semantic space

In my quest for the divorce of content and presentation comes the Serendipitous Web from Matthew Thomas. In a world where people don't mind sending you emails without titles, filing documents with helpful names such as "untitled.doc" and where there are still more than 50,000 pages titled "Welcome to GoLive" on the web (Adobe fans will appreciate), the semantic web is "a pipe-dream, founded on self-delusion, nerd hubris and hysterically inflated market opportunities".

Now before Tristan and Karl start blogging about my supposed despair, I am still happily riding my way to web standards. But this requires some acid test to find the right trade-off between the careless tag-soup and a perfect technofascism.

When I wrote this two years ago, I was already struggling with the gap that exists between a technological ideal and the reality. It's not an instant and easy ride, and some gap will always be there. Especially if standards set the bar too high.

The web standards masters have done a brilliant job to convince us that XHTML2 is not harmful afterall, and they are right. Except that at this stage, all of them are able to code their pages manually. The people I deal with couldn't be careless about XHTML. They do not interface with technology. They demand simple interfaces. And until we have user friendly interfaces that screen the user from the underlying technologies in web standards, we will see and eat even more tag soup everyday.

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