Re: HTML 3.2 [was: Unique Names & content scope -Reply ]

Paul Prescod (papresco@itrc.uwaterloo.ca)
Tue, 7 May 1996 12:21:41 -0400


Date: Tue, 7 May 1996 12:21:41 -0400
Message-Id: <199605071621.MAA16005@itrc.uwaterloo.ca>
To: "Daniel W. Connolly" <connolly@beach.w3.org>
From: Paul Prescod <papresco@itrc.uwaterloo.ca>
Subject: Re: HTML 3.2 [was: Unique Names & content scope -Reply ] 
Cc: Jonas Liljegren <a95jonas@student.adb.gu.se>, www-html@w3.org

At 10:30 AM 5/7/96 -0400, Daniel W. Connolly wrote:
>Anyway... it's definitly on the agenda. There's a definite
>cry for "HTML 2.0 + tables and I18N" and HTML 3.2 is very close.
>I think we'll close that gap over the summer.

HTML 3.2 looks like (HTML 2.0 + tables + Il8N + Netscapeisms)- SGML to me.

The Netscapeisms are obvious, but how it subtly damages the SGML basis of
the language is not as obvious:

For instance, it is much less loose than HTML 2.0 with respect to DOCTYPE
statements:

HTML 2.0:
=========
To identify information as an HTML document conforming to this
specification, each document must start with one of the following document type
declarations. 

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//IETF//DTD HTML 2.0//EN">

This document type declaration refers to the HTML DTD in section HTML DTD. (11) 

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//IETF//DTD HTML 2.0 Level 2//EN">

This document type declaration also refers to the HTML DTD which appears in
section HTML DTD. 

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//IETF//DTD HTML 2.0 Level 1//EN">

This document type declaration refers to the level 1 HTML DTD in section
Level 1 HTML DTD. Form elements must not occur in level 1 documents. 

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//IETF//DTD HTML 2.0 Strict//EN">
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//IETF//DTD HTML 2.0 Strict Level 1//EN">

These two document type declarations refer to the HTML DTD in section Strict
HTML DTD and section Strict Level 1 HTML DTD. They refer to the more
structurally rigid definition of HTML. 


Wilbur:
=======
"At the minimum, every HTML document must at least include the decriptive
title element: 

  <TITLE>A study of population dynamics</TITLE>"

-------------
Since when do standards _remove_ the necessity for proper version
identification in a new version???? How is an HTML 2.0 user agent supposed
to know that these are not HTML 2.0 documents? How is a 4.0 user agent going
to know that these documents are not conformant to HTML 4.0? How is an SGML
application supposed to know where to look for the DTD?

HTML 3.2 should be _tightening_ up HTML 2.0, not loosening it. New major
version numbers are the correct time to make rigour more rigourous and
deprecate mistakes. Furthermore, what will the market say about an "HTML
3.2" that is in many ways _less_ functional than "HTML 3.0". 

In my mind, this is HTML 2.5. HTML 2.0 was about standardizing bad habits.
HTML 3.0 was supposed to be a whole new ball game...the beginning of a
robust information system.

 Paul Prescod