> It might be far too late to change, but would it be possible to redefine
> (fix) the HTML lists altogether by defining a single structure <L> (list)
> which may be indexed (i.e. "ordered"), bulleted, dashed, etc. and if indexed,
> then with a particular type of ordinal (arabic numberal, roman numeral,
> lowercase alpha, uppercase alpha, etc.).
Good idea. Some of the list directives always stuck me as being at
the wrong level of abstraction, just as you observed. I think your
proposal would simplify both authoring tools and clients. You also
rightly observed that it may be too late.
More generally, there appears this tension between who controls the
presentation on the screen: the consumer (the browser) or the
producer (the server)? Generally, the philosophy appears to be let the
browser control the presentation -- and I largely agree with that.
But its the producer who knows the content best and how it should
best be presented (yes, this is an assumption).
At times, I would like to say to my browser:
do exactly as the server says; give the server as much control
over the specifics of the presentation as it wants.
At times I would like to say to my browser:
do as I say. Given that desire, I think its easier to manipulate
a smaller set of more general constructs, like <L ... options ...> <li> stuff </L>
and twiddle the options, selectively delegating or retaining
control over various aspects of the presentation.
Another benefit might be to also let some of these constructs
have a lexical scope. So for example, when nesting a list, an attribute
set in the outer list will hold for the inner or contained list.
This might be outside the scope of HTML. I don't have enough
background to make a good judgement here.
Digital Equipment Co.