Data vs. Expertise – A Listing Aside

There are those that relish the anarchy and the number of the online, and those that see it as a ubiquitous front-end to an array of databases – in a nutshell, those that see the online as a manner of conveying expertise and those that see it as a automobile for info.

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Since HTML first grew to become mainstream, with HTML model 2.0, there was a wrestle between the construction of a doc and its presentation. This battle is symptomatic of two competing visions for the online.

One internet, two visions#section2

Structuralists see the online as a automobile for info: the online is a device to simplify the lives of over-stressed human beings.

Structuralists imagine that the presentation of a doc is finest left as much as the person consumer, browser or gadget. To them, HTML is a language for describing the construction of a doc, and so they view the longer term internet as a common any-device, any-where, any-time interface to databases, or because the database itself.

Presentationalists, however, imagine that the online is for conveying expertise – a medium for leisure and inventive enrichment.

As a result of presentationalists need excellent management over their narratives, they assume that HTML ought to be a language that may precisely current the online designer’s imaginative and prescient pixel-for-pixel, microsecond-to-microsecond, and interaction-to-interaction. The presentationalist sees the longer term internet as a wealthy type of one thing akin to interactive super-television, however higher.

Caught within the center with you#section3

In fact, only a few persons are truly extremists. Structuralists settle for that good presentation can improve info, and presentationalists likewise settle for that some structured info can improve expertise.

Most of us are realists who see the controversy as largely tutorial till expertise has caught up with principle. We’re the would-be structuralists who nonetheless do web page layouts with <desk> cells, and the rather-be presentationalists who nonetheless sort out textual content as an alternative of wrapping it up in pictures. The first justification for many of our design decisions is that “it really works now.”

So what does work now?

State of the online, 2001#section4

Neither the structuralists nor presentationalists are successful outright. An examination of the most recent slew of suggestions popping out of W3C may make you assume that the structuralists are successful, however realists will rapidly level out that expertise has not but caught up with presentationalists’ necessities.

Lone HTML (because it at the moment stands) is neither a great presentation language nor a great structural language, however the addition of XML and different extremely structural languages and specs helps shut the hole between actuality and the structuralist’s splendid.

Cascading Model Sheets have promised and delivered main advances in presentation, whereas permitting doc construction to stay intact. (The success of CSS is proof that point and time once more we get the very best outcomes when structuralists and presentationalists work collectively.)

Good expertise is difficult to search out#section5

The online will not be at the moment a great medium for expertise.

In reality, it’s pretty tacky when in comparison with the movie show, the TV display screen or perhaps a piece of paper. Low bandwidth, differing interpretations of HTML suggestions, and all kinds of consumer and gadget capabilities make it tough for designers to exert the extent of management essential to evoke a constant emotional response.

Not Simply Gradual Web Entry#section6

There are additionally cultural limitations to conveying expertise on the internet. We’ve been serializing narratives for millennia now: novels, films, and tv all depend on the consumer experiencing their narratives sequentially. The buildup of stress, suspense, grief, and different feelings takes time. Novelists and filmmakers have honed their abilities in sequential media to a high quality artwork, and customers have change into subtle shoppers of sequential narrative.

In contrast, we’re solely simply discovering methods of authoring expertise and emotion in conditions the place the consumer is now not passive, however is as an alternative an lively director of the expertise. On the net, narrative has change into a collaboration between the creator and the consumer.

To be honest, reside leisure does already contain low-level collaboration between customers and authors. An excellent storyteller, singer or comic giving a reside efficiency could be much less sequential since she or he has the posh of with the ability to consider the viewers’s response and regulate the efficiency accordingly – one thing that films and books can’t do. Suggestions mechanisms do exist on the internet, however are at the moment fairly primitive compared to the interplay between reside human performers and their audiences.

The present internet additionally forces choices – customers should work together for the narrative to progress as a result of nothing new arrives till the consumer clicks one other hyperlink. It’s at the moment tough to creator internet content material the place the consumer can sit and expertise a sequential movement of expertise, solely interacting after they select to.

Interactive TV#section7

Interactive tv has been mentioned as a possible automobile for the expertise internet; it combines the present experience-conveying qualities of tv with the power to let customers direct the narrative by selecting their very own paths.

Even tv, nevertheless, is a really restricted output gadget that features solely sound and 2nd (simulating 3d) imaginative and prescient. A really experience-centered internet might embody many different output gadgets – think about a horror “web site” wherein the positioning had full management over all the audio system, holographic projectors, the lights, the doorways, the local weather controls, and even the smells inside your own home!

Tv can be a passive medium. Its customers have (and count on) little or no management over what they see. The online is an lively medium; customers actively select their very own paths. Interactive Tv encourages exercise in a historically passive medium. The expertise internet could encourage passivity in a historically lively medium. These two are already assembly in a center floor.

As the person parts of internet expertise change into extra subtle, internet designers and builders will now not want to decide on between good construction and good presentation.

HTML is already changing into a no-man’s land: presentation is shifting into stylesheets, and construction is transferring into XML. The most recent variations of HTML are turning into little greater than the glue that ties the structural richness of XML (through XSL) to the presentational richness of CSS, the interactivity of JavaScript and server-side programming, and the hypermedia parts of video and Flash.

The close to future will ship an internet the place the structuralist mannequin, the presentationalist mannequin, and all combos of the 2 are potential. Till then, technological and cultural limitations will proceed to stop the online from supporting experience-based work in addition to it helps the alternate of knowledge. For the second, a minimum of, the structuralists are popping out on high.

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