Re: Netscape & New HTML

Dylan Northrup (northrup@chuma.cas.usf.edu)
Fri, 21 Oct 1994 19:33:00 -0400 (EDT)


Date: Fri, 21 Oct 1994 19:33:00 -0400 (EDT)
From: Dylan Northrup <northrup@chuma.cas.usf.edu>
To: lamport@src.dec.com
Cc: Multiple recipients of list <www-html@www0.cern.ch>
Subject: Re: Netscape & New HTML 
In-Reply-To: <9410211958.AA10271@lilac.pa.dec.com>
Message-Id: <Pine.SUN.3.91.941021182658.8522B-100000@chuma>

On Fri, 21 Oct 1994 lamport@src.dec.com wrote:

[Bandwidth of HTML is much less than that of LaTeX and PostScript]

[It's not that much more in comparison to video which is on the web]

While I would point out that many many times more HTML documents go over 
the net than video clips, the point is a valid one.

>    ...needed/useful markups such as <center> and <font> will be used.  If
>    they add something that people want and will use, what's the problem?
> 
> Here's the problem: experienced software writers have a name for this
> approach; they call it "the slippery slope".  You build a reasonable
> system, then decide to extend it by adding one feature, then another,
> then another, and pretty soon you've spent a lot of time creating a
> complicated kludge.

Which is why I say there should be multiple improvements on HTML, not 
just the few that have been made by Mcom.  I also agree that there should 
be some orginisation about the way this is done.  However, I also agree 
that *something* should be done and that this seems a step in the right 
direction.  But then again, I'm not a computer scientist.  What would I 
know about what's right and what's not.

> There seems to be an impression that HTML is simple and languages like
> LaTeX are complicated.  So, all we have to do is add some features to
> HTML and we'll get something that's as powerful as we need and just as
> simple as HTML.

Point conceeded.  Anything that is powerful is going to be complicated 
(if those powerful features are going to be used).

> Well, I have some news for you folks: LaTeX is just as simple as
> HTML--if you restrict yourself to doing in LaTeX only what you can do
> in HTML.  

But who's going to settle for using a subset of LaTeX?  They'll bitch and 
complain that their not able to do this, that, or the other.  They'll 
complain that WWWTeX doesn't have this feature or that character.

And who is going to be the one that writes the browser?  The problem is 
HTMl is already standard.  The Genie's outta the bottle.  You already 
have a product that's entrenched as the de facto standard.  You may not 
much like it, but it's what you have to work with.

[LaTeX is as simple as HTML]

> LaTeX is more complicated than HTML because it does a lot more.
> There's no reason to believe that, by extendeding the functionality of
> HTML so it can handle a reasonably large class of documents, you'd
> wind up with something simpler than LaTeX.  There's a lot of experience
> to indicate that you'd wind up with something a lot worse.  

However, we're stuck with HTML.  Let's get on with making it what it 
needs to be and stop complaining because it's not what it should be.

I don't complain that people are using DOS PCs when the should be using 
Amigas.  It's useless.

*****************************************************************************
* Dylan Northrup <northrup@chuma.cas.usf.edu> * PGP and Geek Code available *
***********************************************   via WWW and upon request  *
* Will code HTML for food *  KIBO #7  * <http://www.cas.usf.edu/dylan.html> * 
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----------------------- 
Random Babylon 5 Quote:
-----------------------
"Look, Jeff.  You probably know you weren't first in line to run this place."
'I suspected as much.  I was surprised when they called me.  How far down
  the list was I?'
"Pretty far."
  -- Garibaldi and Sinclair, "Signs and Portents"