Sunday 4 December 2005
SOME THINGS START SMALL AND GROW BIG. That’s exactly what’s happened with an idea I have. I want to put together a human-readable glossary or lookup chart for commonly used terms within XHTML and CSS. I’m a known nomenclature fanatic. I love words and I believe that improving our use of proper terminology helps us communicate more effectively. What’s more, I’ve been technical editor on several upcoming books and it continues to disturb me that many very bright, skilled and knowledgeable leaders in our industry get terminology wrong, or are inconsistent in their descriptions. You know who you are.
So, a glossary. Seems simple enough. I began with the W3C’s glossaries, which are completely vague and overly-complicated. I’m sure you’re all so surprised. Okay, that wasn’t a good model. Then, I began to think that a good approach would be to deconstruct documents, discuss terminology, best practices and maybe add some interesting asides. And then extract a glossary from those documents.
As you can see, what started out as a small idea has grown into a big one. It’s going to take a while to get the glossary together, but in the meantime I’ve begun to deconstruct documents and cite terms. While much of the information is going to be well-known to the intermediate and advanced reader, I could use your help in gathering up the cited terms and providing clear, easy-to-understand definitions for them. You can just add your suggestions to the comments, and I’ll grab them and coordinate them.
What’s more, there’s a gem or two in the deconstruction, including an example of a completely valid headless, body-less, HTML 3.2 document.