Re: printable documents

Erik Aronesty (erik@inch.com)
Tue, 20 Feb 1996 12:15:39 -0500


Message-Id: <1.5.4b11.32.19960220171539.002c5fd4@inch.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 1996 12:15:39 -0500
To: www-html@w3.org
From: Erik Aronesty <erik@inch.com>
Subject: Re: printable documents 

At 01:24 AM 2/19/96 -0500, you wrote:
>In message <1.5.4b11.32.19960216190507.002a963c@inch.com>, Erik Aronesty writes
>:
>>Some docuemnts are intended to be printed in landscape, other in protrait.
>>Some are intended to be tiled, other are intended to be scaled to fit.
>>I think that it would be proper to define these intentions in a document.
>>I also feel it should be easy for an author to express these intentions.
>
>Yes... but is HTML the right medium for this? Why not postscript?

HTML defines no way for specifiying alternate documents or formats.  
Thuss, a document which must be printed, viewed on a browser that has no
image support and 
viewed on a browser with no java support requires a hideous mish-mosh of alt
tags
links to alternate files and server side scripts.

>An Evaluation of the World Wide Web
>as a Platform for Electronic
>Commerce 
>
>Daniel W. Connolly
>W3C/MIT LCS
>$Date: 1995/12/23 03:32:39 $ 
>http://www.w3.org/pub/WWW/Collaboration/ECommerceEval
To quote you...
        "the tools for composing mixed object documents are primitive,
        and many features of a comprehensive compound document 
        architecture are lacking"


The ALT tag is the best/worst example of a PATCH to this core problem in
HTML.  In order to 
progress as a document standard, we need to be able to specify multiple
overlapping
contexts for the entire and/or any section of a document.

As I see it...from reading this document, two major features are required in
HTML:
        1. Client-side conditional document source location
        2. Defining multiple regions/sections within a document

Again...quoting your document
        "One facility that is notably lacking from Web"
        implementations is transclusion -- the ability to include one 
        text object inside another by reference. For example, to include
        an excerpt of one document inside another, or to build a document
        out of section and subsection objects. "

*Breaking a document into sections* is essential for 
document management and usability.  What he failed to add was that
these sections and/or transclusions must be *contextual*, in fact their very
necessity implies
that context is the driving force behind them.

Until now, context is *implied* in HTML and browsers must *interpret* these
contexts 
according to some sort of perverse nonstandard logic.  What is needed is a
method for adding contexts and standardizing rendering suggestions for
documents.