Re: Winning battles but losing the war

"Henry S. Thompson" <ht@cogsci.ed.ac.uk> writes:
>Who's supposed to be making our case at the W3C level?  I've just seen
>a lengthy report from a UK representative of last month's W3C meeting,
>and XML is barely there: 2 one-line mentions in a 10-page report on a
>3-day meeting.  Numerous questions were raised to which XML is the
>answer, but apparently no-one gave that answer, e.g.
>  "Some felt that there should be an HTML extension mechanism (similar
>  to PEP for HTTP). Dan Connolly would produce a HTML briefing paper".
>Why doesn't this say "Dan Connolly pointed out that XML addressed this
>need directly."?

I think Dan, I and others were discussing some sort of HTML extension
mechanism even as far back in the plastocene when the html-wg was still
wandering the earth in search of small reptiles to eat. I remember
attempting to get IANA to register extension names. A lifetime ago.

The modularization of the HTML DTD was an early attempt at what Dan called
a "platform for experimentation", and would still be (I believe) the
mechanism whereby HTML extensions would be added. But as we all know,
there's not too many HTML UAs that even bother to interpret the FPI in
DOCTYPE, much less parse a DTD or perform entity management, so I think
this effort is really doomed to failure.

It's funny that we're just now discussing one of the features that HTML
would need in order to provide some measure of ordered extension
functionality: catalogs and entity management. Because in HTML there seems
to be no movement towards greater interoperability and modularity (in fact,
movement away from it if anything) I think the 'X' in XML will never make
it over to prefix 'HTML', unless one counts ActiveX, etc. as extensibility.


    Murray Altheim, Program Manager
    Spyglass, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts
    email: <mailto:murray@spyglass.com>
    http:  <http://www.cm.spyglass.com/murray/murray.html>
           "Give a monkey the tools and he'll eventually build a typewriter."