W3C's importance was Re: onMouseOver in Cougar. (fwd)

MegaZone (megazone@livingston.com)
Tue, 27 Aug 1996 13:18:07 -0700 (PDT)


Message-Id: <199608272018.NAA02656@server.livingston.com>
Subject: W3C's importance was  Re: onMouseOver in Cougar. (fwd)
To: marnellm@portia.portia.com (Matthew James Marnell), www-html@w3.org
Date: Tue, 27 Aug 1996 13:18:07 -0700 (PDT)
In-Reply-To: <199608271809.OAA14381@portia.portia.com> from "Matthew James Marnell" at Aug 27, 96 02:09:02 pm
From: MegaZone <megazone@livingston.com>

Once upon a time Matthew James Marnell shaped the electrons to say...
>I'm heartily impressed by these things, but they're minor for the time
>being, and likely minor throughout '96 and a good part of '97.  CSS1 is
>something I've been waiting for forever and will continue to wait to
>be able to use without doing a large chunk of additional BS.  I can't
>wait to use them, but I'm going to have to, and this still doesn't
>address the large amount of cruft that keeps sneeking in to each new
>draft.

The W3C cannot force people to use what they produce.  Only the marketplace
can mandate what gets used.  There is no way for anyone to force NS to obey
the standard, and there are advantages to them in offering extras - so of
course they do.

All the W3C can do is develop solid, standardized ways to do popular things
and then give them out.  It is then up to the browser makers to use them or
not - if the market demands it, like OBJECT and CSS1, then you are likely to
see their products spread.  Another factor is competition - if MS picks up
something, NS almost has to in order to remain competitive.  And now both
of them have publically announced that they are committed to supporting any
features the W3C produces.

That doesn't mean they can't design proprietary tags - nor should it.  SOMEONE
has to invent new features and test them, and that is what happens.  The
reason you seen NS tags in the standard is that the tags proved useful and
popular enough to withstand the test of the nets.  Most of them were revised
and changed in some way on the way to being standard, and that is normal.

For example, Livingston invented the RADIUS authentication scheme for comm
servers.  It is just now approaching IETF approval as a standard RFC.  It
went through many changes due to feedback from our users, and later from other
manufactuers who started using the protocol.  That field time was vital to
making a good standard.

>rotates around Netscape eventually.  Look at this list?  I can't read
>3 articles in a row that aren't about HTML and Netscape.  I can't pick
>up any book about HTML without a large portion of the text dedicated

And this is the W3C's fault?  Hardly.  How many articles talk about the IETF
or the ITU, etc - not many except hardcore trade journals.  The job of a 
standards group is not to be in the spotlight all the time.  You hear about 
NS so much because they have a 70-80% market share.  Just like in the PC 
world you can't get away from MS because of their dominance.  Try having a
decent conversation about Java that doesn't end up mentioning Sun someplace.

You can't blame the W3C for this, it is not their position to play market
games nor should it be.

>Not to be indelicate of offensive to MS, but their tags haven't made
>a very big splash.  They're still playing catch-up, but maybe if they

Their floating frames and borderless frames are nice IMHO, and they were
big enough for NS to pick up some of the features in a hurry.  And they 
created FONT FACE which I'm seeing more and more every day.  Most of the 
tags MSIE has that NS don't are actually W3C creations - support for style
sheets and OBJECT for example.

>pull ahead.  I'm beginning to doubt that it's going to be much of
>a fight though unless MS can come out with authoring tools for most
>of the content providers out there now on the timescale needed, namely
>yesterday.

They already have FrontPage and addins for their other systems.  NS Gold is
a joke, it creates terrible HTML, worse even that FrontPage.

>And this has made a world of difference, yes?

Is it supposed to?  No.  You seem to expect the W3C to have some sort of 
control over what independant, commercial organizations - and the content
providers - do.  That is unrealistic.  All the W3C can do is create a standard
that is solid and provides for the desired features - and hope the browser
makers decide to use them and not something they made instead.

>I'm sorry, I must have missed something.  EMBED was Netscape's idea?

Yes, see <http://home.netscape.com/assist/net_sites/new_html3_prop.html#Embed>

>If you say so.  I'll just have to wait for the trickle-down to see if
>any of these things come to fruition.

There are two ways standards evolve:
1. A standards board looks at a perceived need and develops a standard.
2. The board looks at the way the industry is doing things and either blesses
one method as the standard, or evolves the standard based on the knowledge
gained from the current systems.

Organizations like the W3C and the IETF work both ways.

>:>They also work on methods of making the WWW accessable to people with
>:>disabilities, they fight for the user in privacy concerns, the W3C is a
>:>focal point for the development and testing of security systems...
>Sorry, but all of the things that I actually have on my desktop or
>recommend to people regarding the above stated issues have nothing to
>do with the W3C nor are they likely to any time soon.

You are probably wrong there, because many of the systems in common use
are connected to the W3C in ways that aren't obvious.  Many of the systems
for disabled users work from the W3C's research on the subject and their
recommendations, as an example.  The W3C has worked with its members on
user privacy issues concerning the web, and W3C members have used work done
within the W3C in writing their standards.

-MZ
--
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