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Back to basics



Let's review the basics.

This is an activity of the World Wide Web Consortium called "Generic
SGML on the Web."  Its overall goal is as stated on the W3C site:

   To minimize the costs of down-conversion from SGML databases and
   ensure the continued evolution of distributed Web applications,
   the goal of the W3C SGML activity is to enable Web browsers to
   receive and process generic SGML in the way that they are now
   able to receive and process HTML.  As in the case of HTML, the
   implementation of SGML on the Web will require attention not just
   to structure and content, but also to link semantics and display
   semantics.

In other words, the primary goal is to enable SGML to be used as a
medium for the communication of documents from Web servers to Web
clients.  Important as they are, all other considerations -- ease of
authoring, acceptance, compatibility with the existing HTML document
base, compatibility with the existing SGML document base,
compatibility with existing SGML tools, and so on -- are secondary to
this one.

Most questions related to this primary goal are technical ones, but
there is one key marketing requirement: that browsers capable of
consuming generic SGML be widely deployed.  One factor that we know
has prevented the wide deployment of generic SGML browsers is the
difficulty of implementing the complete 8879 specification.  The basic
goal of the XML effort at this stage is to create an application
profile for SGML on the Web that will encourage the dominant vendors
of Web browsers to make SGML Web browsers available.

Jon Bosak
ERB/WG Chair