An Algorithmic and Social Introduction to Computer Science (CSC-105 2000S)

Do you prefer logical or physical markup? Why?


I do not know either langugage well enough to pick one, much less distinguish any sort of reason as to why it is better.


Logical markup makes sense to me for text like page titles, book titles, headings, and paragraphs. As I understand it, by marking text logically, you have the opportunity to go back and specify how each piece of text so marked should look, or use some program to do so...which seems useful. However, when it comes to individual words, it seems tedious to have to label them as to what they're "for" rather than just what they should look like. Then again, if logical markup forces us to consider not just aesthetics, but purposes, perhaps that's something we should always be doing anyway.


well, from reading somewhere, probably on the webpage, i know that you prefer logical markup. after your explanation as to why in wednesday's class i'd have to say i probably agree with you. the editor in me says it makes more sense to label something according to why (logical) it would look that way rather than just what (physical) you want it to look like. therefore, and now i'm paraphrasing what you said, if you decide that you want all your headings to look bold instead of italic, it'd be a lot easier to tell which ones are your headings already rather than having to check everything that is in italics.


I prefer physical markup philosophy for two reasons. First, it doesn't seem necessary to indicate the role of a given text, as the 'computer' doesn't essentially need to know the role of the text. Second, it seems that physical markup allows the user individual freedom to decide how text will appear according to their needs (which it seems may vary outside the scope of logical markup) not according to prescribed logical markup parameters. Another way of explaining this is to say that it makes more sense to me to choose how something will appear based on an individual's needs, so that they have the choice of determining appearance based on role without interference. For instance, a logical markup for the title of a book would seem limited to one appearance, whereas we discussed in class that sometimes their are differing formats for title presentation used to meet different requirements. One thing you could say in favor of logical markup is that it would seem to help keep a document consistently formatted.

[Just so you know, I think you got the terms backwards.]

[Revised answer:] In light of our class today, I suppose that logical markup is the more helpful language because it allows for easier document linking since text components are identified according to role. (?) It's an interesting question.


I think that my preference for either logical or physical markup would depend on what I was attempting to do. One thing I'm not so clear on with logical markup: do tagged pieces of text get automatically formatted? For example, if you tagged something as a quotation, would that piece of tagged text automatically get formatted as such? The impression I got from reading that bit about HTML's new style sheets seemed to indicate that logical markup doesn't allow as much control over appearance.

If this is the case, that stylistically logical markup is somewhat limiting, then it seems like logical markup would be preferable in cases where the document is largely textual, or the overall appearance of the document is not so important. But if one were really concerned about the aesthetic quality of a document, and overall visual presentation was more of an issue, than I would say physical markup would be preferable.


Advantages of logical markup

Mass changes-each section has its own definition and in order to change the characteristics of a section one does not need to attend to each individual item rather only redefine the definition. The other advantage of logical would be allowing the user to determine the qualities that they with to view. Each section is distinct from each other section. If a single section fails then the programmer knows where the problem is and is better able to attend to it.

Disadvantages of logical markup

The final product or the product the user would view does not appear different on the screen while programming. The programming and viewing of the outcome of the programming are at the same time incompatible. That might hurt creativity and innovation. One might be willing to attempt something different if they could see the result in a moment but might not be if it is a large time investment. The average computer user is unable to understand logical markup.

Advantages of physical markup The average person can understand it. Compatible with most Word Processors.

Disadvantages of physical markup Probably more time consuming than logical markup or is the computer able to transfer the physical markup to logical?

For the novice computer user, I prefer the easiest method even if it consumes more time. There are not many things more frustrating than computer difficulties.


Both logical and physical markup are important in using HTML - to make web pages, for example. But I think logical markup is more important than physical because it prescribes more vital instructions, such as indicating a paragraph, quotation, or subject heading. Physical markup, however, is less important because it just indicates the appearance of the contents of the page, such as bold or font size. I think your web page, for example, would look better with logical markup and without physical markup as compared to physical markup without logical markup. Therefore, I prefer logical markup.


Even since we discussed this in tutorial, I've been unsure of what my response to this question might be. However, I'll respond as best I can with the direction I'm leaning at the moment. In general, I prefer physical markup of hypertext. I may not prefer to use it, but I prefer to write it. This preference is because of the ambiguity (both potential and real) that I see in logical markup. It is better to say precisely how an author wishes the hypertext to be, rather than discussing just what role it plays. I'm trying to say that what the author feels a level-one heading should look like may not always be what is programmed in, and physical markup allows this preference to be manifested by the individual author. There are problems, like an endless amount of text required to describe one little word, but I feel this supersedes the possibility of differences over the "roles" of text with purely logical markup.


I think this is a hard question to answer, because I see different potential uses for each. If I had to pick one, I guess I would say I prefer logical. This is mainly because I have seen too many web pages that don't understand style, layout, or user interface, and thus abuse the potential uses of physical markup.


It is difficult to show preference over logical or physical markup, primarily because it seems as if their attributes could be maximized by using them in congruence. If the purpose of the web is to offer information, the question as to how it can be presented most effectively comes into play. But... if it must be done, then I think I prefer physical markup, because it seems like it may be easier to organize and orientate information in a comprehensive and intentional manner by appearance, rather than "role." This may have be a shift from the early days of the web, but now there is so much stuff out there that it can be difficult to discern between one thing or another. Appearance sparks greater interest; its all about eye-candy these days, and it seems to me that physical markup is the most convenient way to achieve this.

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