Tuesday, April 25

Thoughts on the HTML Specification

I was looking through my bookmarks on del.icio.us yesterday, and I noticed a glaring inconsistency in the way my bookmarks are named. I usually post links using the bookmarklet, so (at least initially) they are given names identical to the originating page's <title> tag.

The problem here is the different ways in which different sites format their <title> tags. Lifehacker uses "<headline> - Lifehacker" (i.e. "<headline> - <source>") and Playlist uses "<source>: <headline>". CNET News formats titles as "<headline> | <source>" and the New York Times uses "<headline> - <source>" (which is the same as Lifehacker).

Each news source formats their <title>s in their own way when listing the headline and the source; in fact, Wired used to use "Wired News" as their page titles and not include the article headline at all! I suggest an easy way to standardize this by incorporating a new HTML header tag: <source></source>. This will allow the end-user to customize their format for viewing the headline and news source (we can keep the <title></title> for headlines since it's already established) so that all news they read and/or bookmark can be attributed in one common manner.

Of course browsers would need to be updated to support this, and I have no idea if the HTML spec is open for changes, but I've had this idea lately and I needed to write it down so I could get it out of my head. If you got this far, thanks for sticking with my rambling.


Harry J. Sachz said...

it's an excellent idea, but in my experience - the words uniform, simplistic, and consistent have never come into a sentence when speaking about computers... maybe you could write something that would take care of this and make the rest of our lives easier :)

Gerald Buckley said...

Brad -

Saw your post over on Lifehacker and seeing as how I'm not "in the club" am responding on your blog... talk about workarounds!

Anyway, you mention it would be nice to have an autocomplete method for finishing off the tag your starting to type... such a thing exists! I was traipsing through Guy Kawasaki's blog and he's all pumped up about this thing called Textpander. So, I check it out and I'll be darned if it isn't exactly what I was needing and I bet would serve your needs too. I was getting tired of using umpteen milliion keycombos to input my cc#s and expirys, etc. This thing does wonders!

And, this aint comment spam!!!! :)

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The Geek Code desperately needs updating, but in any case here's mine (as of 2010-02-28):

Version: 3.12
GIT/MU d+(-) s:+>: a C++> ULXB++++$ L+++ M++ w--() !O !V P+ E---
W+++ N o++ K? PS PE++ Y+ PGP t !5 X- R- tv+@ b++ DI++++ D--- e*++
h--- r+++ y+++ G+

If you really care about knowing what that all means, you either know the code already, or you can get it decoded for you here.