Re: HTML WG Charter: Define Experimental Platform

Daniel W. Connolly (connolly@beach.w3.org)
Tue, 05 Mar 1996 18:38:23 -0500


Message-Id: <m0tu6JD-0002U5C@beach.w3.org>
To: Paul Prescod <papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
Cc: html-wg@w3.org, www-html@w3.org
Subject: Re: HTML WG Charter: Define Experimental Platform 
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Tue, 05 Mar 1996 16:44:32 EST."
             <199603052144.QAA25868@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca> 
Date: Tue, 05 Mar 1996 18:38:23 -0500
From: "Daniel W. Connolly" <connolly@beach.w3.org>

In message <199603052144.QAA25868@undergrad.math.uwaterloo.ca>, Paul Prescod wr
ites:
>Overall, I like the direction, Dan.  One concern, though.
>
>Now my DTD "includes" HTML 1.0 (according to the definition in the RFC), but
>many documents that conform to my DTD don't look anything like HTML at all:
>
><HTML>
><TEI.5>
>a bunch of TEI.5 content
></TEI.5>
></HTML>
>
>This (valid) text/html document doesn't even have a <TITLE>!

It's not valid: it's missing the CRITICAL <!doctype ...> declaration,
which would warn consumers what sort of HTML they're getting.

Aside from that, yes, this strategy is vulnerable to that sort of
abuse.

>I can think of a few ways to deal with this:
>
>#1. Specify the important HTML elements and idioms like HEAD, TITLE, BODY
>and A, and define _exactly_ what can and can't be added and removed from
>HTML dialects.

Non-starter.

>#2. Forget HTML dialects, move directly to SGML

Folks can do that independently of what happens with HTML.

>#3. Keep text/html fixed and standardize a framework for experimentation in
>text/x-html.

You and what army? The experiments are already happening, and they're
labelled text/html.

>#4. Ignore this problem and depend on "the market" to force people to
>conform to HTML elements and HTML idioms for proper display on conventional
>browsers.  As style sheets emerge and improve, text/html evolves towards
>text/sgml and at some later date we remove the requirement to include the
>HTML dtd.

This is pretty close to what I'm proposing, except that there's
no date where we remove the HTML dtd requirement from text/html. In
stead, if folks become uninterested in the HTML tag set, text/html
would disappear from usage. text/sgml is what it is, now and
in the future.

>Fine, but if the text/html document type

Ummm... terminology mismatch. are you talking about the text/html
internet media type, or one of the HTML document types?

> has no real teeth to enforce
>HTMLish-ness, why not remove the requirement?

The teeth to enforce HTMLish-ness comes from the installed base of
clients, which only moves so fast.

For example, you're <TEI.5> document above is unlikely to show
up on the web any time soon, cuz none of the readers could make
sense of it.

> Sure, user agents still have
>to include the HTML 2.0 DTD, but document authors shouldn't have to.

Document authors only have to stick to the HTML DTD if they
want to interoperate with HTML user agents. Otherwise, they're
free to use text/sgml.

Dan