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Re: proposal for a new html tag

From: Gavin Nicol <gtn@ebt.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 1995 01:54:53 -0500
Message-Id: <199503220654.BAA24523@ebt-inc.ebt.com>
To: mogul@pa.dec.com
Cc: paul@cs.vu.nl, http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com
>Suppose, as you did, that the author of the HTML file expects some
>users will want to view parts of the document before the whole file
>is transmitted.  Instead of marking certain parts with priorities
>that control the order in which they are transmitted, however, the
>author marks the parts with the order in which they should be displayed.

Isn't this, in effect, what an anchor tag does? While most browsers
perform content replacement, this is not necessarily the only way. 

>Of course, the right "solution" might be to encourage authors
>to provide their large documents in two forms: monolithic (single
>HTML file) for people with fast connections and/or for people who
>want to quickly search the documents for particular character
>strings, and "outlined", for people who want to retrieve just
>the parts they are looking for.
 
Requiring the authors to think of how to break up a document
(especially very large ones) is not a winning philosophy: it entails
too much work.

Servers can, and should be able to do this, but HTML get's in the
way. HTML is designed for smallish documents. I think servers like
DynaWeb will become increasingly important. I know of one case where
it took a week to publish something in HTML (after converting from
SGML), but the same thing was accomplished in DynaWeb in minutes,
with an up one time cost of perhaps an hour or so. DynaWeb generates
links on the fly, so link maintenance (a real headache for large
databases) is an insignificant part of the publishing process.

While I'm not keen on expounding the benefits of EBT's products on a
public list, I think DynaWeb represents a significant shift in
emphasis, and technology that is useful for large databases. When I
wrote DynaWeb, I (and others at EBT who shared in the design), had
precisely this problem in mind. I think we solved it fairly well, and
I'd be very surprised if other servers do not appear that offer the
same functionality. It is the way things will go.
Received on Tuesday, 21 March 1995 23:01:27 EST

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