Re: Introducing NetscapeML

Michal Young (young@cs.purdue.edu)
Sat, 29 Jun 1996 17:26:21 -0600


Message-Id: <v02140b00adfb61903eff@[128.10.2.237]>
Date: Sat, 29 Jun 1996 17:26:21 -0600
To: Thomas Reardon <thomasre@microsoft.com>,
From: young@cs.purdue.edu (Michal Young)
Subject: Re: Introducing NetscapeML

At 1:16 PM 6/29/96, Thomas Reardon wrote:
>  The
>one mitigating factor is that these recent hacks don't come close to
>matching the functionality already available in browsers using style
>sheets.

It is more than a mitigating factor --- this is why it was so important
that CSS1 provide a level of functionality that is hard to match by adding
a few more html tags, even when some of that functionality offended
purists.  Now the trick is for CSS1-enabled browsers and editors to be
widely (and freely) available quickly.

Microsoft has an opportunity to eat Netscape's lunch here, with MSIE 3, but
to do it they need to distribute CSS1-enabled betas for platforms other
than Windows. Unix users will probably have a variety of CSS1-capable
options, so that's less critical than the Mac.  If Netscape's hacks are
available cross-platform before MS or someone puts a good CSS1-capable
browser on the Mac, unfortunately there will be strong incentive to use
those hacks.  I'm sure I'm not alone among users waiting impatiently to be
able to deploy CSS1 documents and know that my audience (who are primarily
Unix and Mac users) can read them.

The other point of leverage here is web editors and/or export filters.
Microsoft can exert a lot of pressure here with their export filter for MS
Word --- if that will make use of stylesheets to produce documents that
would be either impossible or difficult to produce using the Netscape tags,
there will be a strong incentive to use stylesheets.  It would also put
pressure on FrameMaker and WordPerfect to do the same. Provide a good
stylesheet-enabled export filter for PowerPoint, and Adobe will feel the
heat to the same for WebPresenter (Persuasion).

--Michal Young, Purdue U.