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Re: A truly multilingual WWW

From: David Goldsmith <David_Goldsmith@taligent.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 1995 15:51:11 -0800
Message-Id: <v01510101ab4206668aaa@[]>
To: Gavin Nicol <gtn@ebt.com>
Cc: http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com, html-wg@oclc.org, rick0@allette.com.au, www@unicode.org, john_jenkins@taligent.com
At 5:50 PM 1/17/95, Gavin Nicol wrote:
>Yes, and I am very hesitant to suggest using any special purpose
>codes. The problem is that there does need to be some standard (low
>level) way of saying that some text is in Japanese, and some text is
>in Chinese. Now, the real debate is how to represent this, and I think
>the recent idea I proposed is not bad.

This is really the crux of the matter. Why do you think there needs to be a
*low level* way of differentiating Japanese and Chinese text? The WWW seems
to operate quite well now without any way to differentiate German, English,
French, or Italian text (all handled by 8859-1). What problems --
specifically -- would arise in typical WWW applications if such text is not
tagged? How would lack of this information impede you when writing
Unicode-capable servers and clients, and how would it impact end users?

I fully agree that language (and font, and style, and ...) tags are useful
and highly desirable at a high level, and support for this should be added
to HTML (or at whatever level is appropriate). I don't think that language
is any different from these other attributes, nor does it need special
treatment. Doing it at a low level adds complexity and complicates clients
and servers that use Unicode. There has to be a compelling reason to add
this complexity. There has to be a problem that it solves.

Given that work is in progress to add language information at a higher
level (HTML 3) it seems to me that there would have to be an
extraordinarily strong reason to add this information at a low level as

David Goldsmith
Senior Scientist
Taligent, Inc.
10201 N. DeAnza Blvd.
Cupertino, CA 95014-2233
Received on Tuesday, 17 January 1995 15:54:54 UTC

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