W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org > November 1996

Re: Recent ERB votes

From: Paul Prescod <papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
Date: Thu, 7 Nov 1996 10:09:34 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <199611071509.KAA26005@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
To: lee@sq.com
Cc: W3C-SGML-WG@w3.org, paul@arbortext.com
> Paul asked:
> Frankly, this HTML compatibility thing is a total waste of time.
> To be at all HTML comptibile, you have to cope with
>     <li>first item
>     <li>second item
>     <b><li>bold item</b></li>
>     <hr>did you know hr isn't allowd here?</hr>
>     <li><img src=http://bet/you/need/quotes/in/sgml.gif>
> </UL>
> Yes, this "works" in Netscape.  Say it isn't calid all you like.
> shout until you're blue in the face.  But reading this is what
> HTML compatibility is about today.

I think that the ERB is looking at it from the opposite point of view. They
are trying to define XML so that an HTML-like subset of XML can be 
"understood" by existing Web browsers. Then we could roll-out XML as most
HTML extensions are rolled out: tags which are ignored by browsers that 
don't "grok" them. Since none of us expect the HTML-extension mania to
end soon, XML might as well provide a standards-compliant mechanism for
doing so (as SGML currently does). 

There are legitimate reasons for wanting to extend HTML (for instance for
richer meta-data). Right now this is done through SGML (such as Peter FLynn's
HTML Pro) or through prose specifications. XML could take over that job.

It is important to remember that HTML should have a special place in these 
discussions, because it is the current "official" markup language of the 
group that is sponsoring this effort, and of the information system that we
are trying to augment (the Web). Seen in those terms, one could argue that 
HTML compatibility should be of a higher priority than SGML compatibility
(but I certainly won't!).

 Paul Prescod
Received on Thursday, 7 November 1996 10:09:43 UTC

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