Re: color: NCSA Mosaic, Netscape, and HTML3

kitblake (kitblake@gig.nl)
Fri, 21 Jul 1995 16:39:48 +0100


Message-Id: <9507211439.AA09885@waterloo.gig.nl>
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 1995 16:39:48 +0100
To: www-html@www10.w3.org
From: kitblake@gig.nl (kitblake)
Subject: Re: color: NCSA Mosaic, Netscape, and HTML3

..../Brian Behlendorf wrote:
>> The tail:
>> >
>> >No, we'll just leave you to your <CENTER><BLINK>KooL!</BLINK><CENTER>
>> >Netscape "Enhanced" world, and get on with the serious business of 
>> >constructing useful, powerful and accessible open standards for 
>> >everyone, that make the Netscape Extensions look like the crude 
>> >little hacks they are.
>> >
>> 
>> As I read this ongoing discussion I get a strong sense of deja vu. There is
>> an Academy, say the Beaux-Arts in France, telling Claude Monet that
>> Impressionism is not painting.   We all know who Monet is....
>
>We are *not* comparing art styles vs. art styles.  I don't think anyone 
>is saying that attractive documents have no business on the web - quite the 
>contrary, we are trying to create a basis for an extremely powerful 
>presentation layer on top of a semantic document language - HTML 3.0 and 
>style sheets - which will give the document authors an astounding amount 
>of control over how the page *looks* without mucking up what the document 
>*says*.  

Hmmm. The metaphor can be criticised. Behind the metaphor is the idea that:
-Some people invented some things - Netscapisms - which have become
(almost) universally popular and accepted.

-Other people are working on better solutions, and all of the users who
have embraced Netscapisms are anxiously awaiting those solutions.

The point I am trying to make is that the Academy (no disrespect - I've
seen some of them speak, and sincerely appreciate their ongoing efforts) is
crazy to disregard these "hacks". Whatever the Academy's solutions are,
they need to accept the Netscapisms as necessary and implement them, albeit
in a better way.


>Why shouldn't color, alignment, size, and font styles be 
>applicable to *all* HTML tags, rather than waiting for piecemeal 
>attribute additions to the <FONT> tag or the <CENTER> tag?

Totally agreed. But it's not possible today, or tomorrow. The solution is
to get creative, and solve the problem. Soon. (Sometimes this list sounds
like a bunch of grumbling grandmothers). Netscapisms will not go away -
they're just too popular. I'm sure Netscape will embrace a better solution,
and it'll be in their corporate interest to follow a standard. Even if it
is not backwards compatable. It's not embarrassing to admit a better
solution has come up. But so far, no  solution has been announced. There is
no standard, just endless revisions of discussions. I realize that this is
the way the Internet works - someday there will be a draft - but it's too
slow for coders of browsers and Web pages.

(Maybe the answer is to stop thinking about an end-all 3.0/style sheet
solution, but just develop the DTDs continuously - the software releases
more or less match the DTD versions. Plus as soon as 3.0 is released,
people will start improving it. While waiting for 4.)

For instance, since the background tile is apparently already part of the
3.0 DTD, I think Lou (a la Netscape) has sufficiently proven that it is
neccessary to change the text colors (blue anchors disappearing into a blue
background, etc). Accept it. Announce colors in HTML 3. They can always be
ignored by setting the client's preferences. As can other presentationals
like <CENTER>, <ALIGN...>. And braille readers can ignore them too. (Plus
MSN includes them).

>This goes against the philosophy behind HTML.

OK. Find an interim solution. Where do you draw the line? Just draw one.
Announce that, until style sheets are implemented, this is the syntax for
<FONT>. Netscape and Phylia (sp?) will follow. 

This process is already way out of control. The only thing the Academy can
do is take (some) action, one which considers the present state of the Web.
There are tens of thousands of users out there who are looking forward to
Netscape's next release, to see what new <kOOl>! things they can do. If the
Academy doesn't make some decisions, and announcements, they'll have more
muck-ups on their hands. Talk to Netscape. Talk to the world. Make some
decisions. </grumble>

kit blake


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