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change "scientific documents" to "basic hypertext" (detailed review of section 1. Introduction)

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2007 16:39:01 -0500
To: "public-html@w3.org WG" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-Id: <1188509941.29837.1739.camel@pav>

The draft says "HTML was primarily designed as a language
for semantically describing scientific documents, ..."

I'm pretty sure that's not true. I suggest changing
it to:

  HTML was primarily designed for basic hypertext, ...

some details/background...

The original design notes from 1991 say things like:

"There is a set of formats which every client must be able to handle.
These include 80-column text and basic hypertext ( HTML )."
 -- http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/Formats

My understanding of the original design of HTML is that
TimBL took the Rich Text object from NextStep and found
some unused bits in the color field and used those
to add hypertext links to runs of text. And he serialized
it as SGML because that was popular with the Hypertext
crowd and it was in use at CERN. The particular SGML
tags (p, li, ...) were based on the IBM GML starter set.

Tim just added the <a> element... and maybe a few
others like <isindex>.

I just scanned the first few occurrences of HTML
in his book, "Weaving the Web", but I don't see anything
about this aspect of HTML.

for reference:

24 August 2007

Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
Received on Thursday, 30 August 2007 21:39:15 UTC

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