Re: Possible use of <INSERT> - serious inquiry

Benjamin C. W. Sittler (bsittler@mailhost.nmt.edu)
Tue, 19 Mar 1996 08:57:47 -0700 (MST)


Date: Tue, 19 Mar 1996 08:57:47 -0700 (MST)
From: "Benjamin C. W. Sittler" <bsittler@mailhost.nmt.edu>
To: www-html@w3.org
Subject: Re: Possible use of <INSERT> - serious inquiry
In-Reply-To: <v02110100ad746c91d155@[140.186.34.50]>
Message-Id: <Pine.SUN.3.91.960319085259.11661B-100000@gray>

On Tue, 19 Mar 1996, Murray Altheim wrote:

> >I just spent a while stufying the <INSERT> tag proposal at
> ><http://www.w3.org/pub/WWW/TR/WD-insert.html>
> >
> >This seems to me to be perfectlyu extensible for the inclusion of
> >other text files, as we have recently discussed.
> >
> >Now, my serious question is, at this time could one simply use
> >
> ><insert
> >        data="http://www.mysite.com/path/file.html"
> ></insert>
> >
> >I don't *think* so from my reading, but I'm looking for other input.
> 
> A valid HTML document is of the form:
> 
>     <!DOCTYPE ...>
>     <HTML>
>     <TITLE>...</TITLE>
>     <BODY>
>     ...
>     </BODY>
>     </HTML>
> 
> To insert another valid HTML document anywhere in this structure
> invalidates the document, unless the inserted entity is a document fragment
> and it is allowed at the inserted location. I don't think I've ever seen
> any proposed resolution to this problem, where in practice folks will
> probably simply insert complete HTML documents. It would be a royal mess,
> as it puts a heavy requirement on authors to do their own entity
> management, something I've seldom seen in practice.
> 
> Also, the issue of whether or not the inserted document exists on the same
> system may or may not be a problem, depending on your SGML system. While a
> validating parser may be able to locate external entities via URL, this is
> not a requirement in SGML (ISO 8879:1986), it is simply a nice feature of
> nsgmls. Dan Connolly and I have gone 'round on this one before.
> 
> So strictly speaking (following HTML as an SGML application, according to
> both 8879 and RFC 1866 as current specifications) I don't believe we can
> *require* an SGML system to understand URLs in order to parse a document.
> Therefore, any feature that required an insertion of content based upon
> URLs may not be conformant. Someone may correct me on this, but this is the
> way I read 8879.

I may be mistaken, but I don't think that inserting an HTML document 
using INSERT would have any effect whatsoever on the validity of the 
referring document. The INSERTed HTML should not be merged with the 
referring document, rather it should be displayed inline (just like a 
GIF) in the referring HTML doc, and should be validated independantly. 
(of course, I personally would prefer <A HREF="..." CLASS=INLINE> and an 
appropriate stylesheet entry. That would break no existing browsers, and 
could be displayed inline in a more advanced browser.)

Benjamin C. W. Sittler