Re: making old text publicly available on the web

Daniel W. Connolly (connolly@beach.w3.org)
Thu, 06 Jul 1995 11:52:12 -0400


Message-Id: <199507061552.LAA17990@beach.w3.org>
To: dba@althingi.is
Cc: www-html@w3.org
Subject: Re: making old text publicly available on the web 
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Thu, 06 Jul 1995 15:03:06 GMT."
             <199507061503.PAA21192@freki.althingi.is> 
Date: Thu, 06 Jul 1995 11:52:12 -0400
From: "Daniel W. Connolly" <connolly@beach.w3.org>

In message <199507061503.PAA21192@freki.althingi.is>, dba@althingi.is writes:
>There is lots of text around which could be made accessible
>on the web but nobody has the time to mark up.
>Frequently the only structure this text has is tabs and
>formfeeds.

Are you aware that you may make data avialable in other formats
besides HTML? Plain text files have always been supported by
web browsers.

I don't believe formfeed characters are consistently supported (though
I haven't done any testing on this recently).  I'm not sure what spec
governs the text/plain media type -- RFC1521 probably -- but I doubt
it mandates support for formfeeds.

> HTML should support formfeeds in <PLAINTEXT>
>so this little structure there is present in this text
>does not get lost on the web.

Hmmm... odd phrasing: "HTML should support." Do you mean that
web browsers should support formfeeds in HTML?

>The same applies to books which are scaned up, they have pages.

I believe that HTML elements represent common communications
idioms. You may have a point that in fact a "page" is such an idiom,
and hence may have a place in HTML. It's the old "chunky" vs. "creamy"
hypertext debate: in HyperCard, Toolbook, and the like, the
information space is built from "cards" or "pages." HTML is
essentially creamy, though the chunky crowd seems to lobby for support
on occasion. (Dave Hollander from H.P.  argues the case occasionally,
bringing a lot of experience from his work on SDL.)

>I have the job of presenting official information to the public
>in stable text and in reports generated from databases.
>I have very basic needs and I think HTML should meet those needs
>without style sheets.

Hmm... I'd agree that your needs should be met by web technology.
Whether we need another HTML tag is debateable at best. Have
you considered putting each page in a separate HTML document?

>I dont need a special tag if the standard says that browsers should
>have as an option in printing a skipp to a new page on <DIV> 
>or on <DIV CLASS=something> or something of that kind.
>Is that cluttering up the standard?

Nope. Actually, that's a pretty good idea. <DIV class=page> is a
pretty reasonable way to mark up the information you seem to have.
Now... if you could just lobby the browser implementors to support
the idiom...


Daniel W. Connolly        "We believe in the interconnectedness of all things"
Research Technical Staff, MIT/W3C
<connolly@w3.org>             http://www.w3.org/hypertext/WWW/People/Connolly