[rfc-i] Representation flexibility

Julian Reschke julian.reschke at gmx.de
Sun Jun 17 07:30:03 PDT 2012

On 2012-06-17 14:55, Iljitsch van Beijnum wrote:
> ...
> My thinking: we can probably trust implementations to render text appropriately without imposing any limitations. I'm somewhat worried about ASCII art, though. When rendered well with an appropriate font, ASCII art can work reasonably well, but in practice, it doesn't always work out that way. Perhaps it would be best to sidestep the issue and make a pre-rendered bitmap version available.
> ...

I'm not sure why we need to make thins unnecessary complex. Of the 
formats we discussed, is there a single one where tagging as something 
to be displayed preformatted with a monospaced typeface is a problem?

> As for bitmaps, the main issue there is inadvertent scaling. So as long as our images can survive that, we should be in good shape, especially if we constrain the size of bitmaps so they're readable on a display size that we agree is a reasonable minimum.
> Vector images: I've seen many issues with these, and a big problem is that the complexity (and thus size and display speed) of the images is unbounded. Solution: require a pre-rendered bitmap. I would also be in favor of making the bitmap version the canonical version.
> Considering the above, I think a conservative subset of HTML could meet our needs. I'm not sure about XML and SGML, I'm too unfamiliar with the way those formats are rendered. Unformatted ASCII is out, as it is typically rendered without automatic word wrap. Formatted ASCII can work to some degree (as we all know) but isn't entirely unproblematic and imposes rigidity that prevents it from working well on smaller (but not necessarily excessively small) displays. The same for "regular" PDF. I haven't seen reflowable PDF, unsure if this is widely implemented.

You are confusing SGML and XML with vocabularies *using* them (such as 
HTML (*) or XHTML, respectively). Usually, you don't display XML 
vocabularies directly, but transform them to one that is designed for 
display purposes (such as (X)HTML or XSL-FO) (**).

Best regards, Julian

(*) Although HTML wasn't actually *implemented* as SGML in common UAs ever.

(**) You *can* display XML using CSS, but that works only well if the 
vocabulary is structured so that it's already close to the output format.

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