Elements of ergometrics

The pursuit of ergometrics for el has also had the effect of forcing me to decide what the key-est functions for hypertext composition are, dictated by the scarcity of appropriate unshifted keys on the standard keyboard.

One of the cheif ergometric flaws of HTML is its adoption of the anglebracket/quoted string system of markup inherited from SGML. I considered simply substituting square brackets and apostrophes for the HTML counterparts and filtering just before publication, but then there was the question of aesthetics, another component of ergometrics.

After composing about a hundred documents by hand in HTML I came to the conclusion that the most crucial elements of hypertext composition by humans were

  1. conventional typographic font shift for metasemantics (eg italics for

    titles or emphasis)

  2. identifying link originators [links] = identifying link anchors [anchors] = imbedding images and graphic links

These are the principle elements of el design.

Aesthetic considerations

In a nutshell, that which hurts the eyes is just as offensive as that which hurts the wrists.

Therefore el and light tend to obey the dictum: Extract the maximum meaning from the minimum information when possible.

Prefixs such as http:// and .html are assumed whenever possible, and the concepts of the LINKPATH and LINKENV are introduced so that whereever possible an unadorned word may serve as its own link identifier.

Flow of consciousness

Not only does this reduce the distraction of visual clutter on the composer's page, it also reduces the distraction of having to remember arcane and convoluted paths, and enter these correctly, when all the composer really wants to do is to quickly get the tangle of tangential inspirations and insights out of their head and onto the page.

In many ways, the very desire to do away with references to the shift key and the mouse have more to do with reducing micro-second noises in the FOC than they do with reducing repetative stress syndrome.

To this end also, the concept of capitalization filter has been adopted.

If you think I'm fanatical about reducing FOC line-noise, you're right. I've thought about and "in" y-text for years, and have come to the conclusion that a new way of thinking will evolve to occupy the space created by the new medium. To think in a new way can be hard. To maintain concentrated digression at the same time is even harder.

Although poets and programmers are perhaps a little more practiced than most in coming to terms with this apparent oxymoron, we need all the help we can get from our computers and vigilantly insist that they facilitate rather than impede communication.


lo version 0.94 patch 134/026
24 June 1997