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

Matthew James Marnell (marnellm@portia.portia.com)
Tue, 07 May 1996 15:58:06 -0400


Message-Id: <199605071958.PAA05409@portia.portia.com>
To: "Daniel W. Connolly" <connolly@beach.w3.org>
Cc: Dave Carter <dxc@ast.cam.ac.uk>,
Subject: Re: HTML 3.2 [was: Unique Names & content scope -Reply ] 
In-Reply-To: Your message of "Tue, 07 May 1996 15:03:08 EDT."
             <m0uGs2c-0002U5C@beach.w3.org> 
Date: Tue, 07 May 1996 15:58:06 -0400
From: Matthew James Marnell <marnellm@portia.portia.com>

:>At our stylesheets workshop in Paris[3], Dave Seigel gave a very
:>eye-opening description of the market for HTML:

[eye-closing graphics ommitted.]

:>The "science and engineering" market would be 3x dominated b3 the
:>commercial world (marketing and trading) which would be 3x dominated
:>by the entertainment market.
:>
:>So the folks looking for long-lasting structured markup are dominated
:>9x by the folks who want glitzy throw-away stuff.

Because DS says so?  It's funny how so many conclusions are made
about such an immature technology, so quickly, by so few, that
affect so many.  So, now, on Dave's say so we are beholden to
believe that the entertainment industry is the be all and end
all of the WWW and HTML.  The brass ring.  The goal.  The end
that justifies the means.

And so, we should give up on things like math, and anything that
directly benefits the academic community, only gloss over commercial
desires and have nice presentation stuff for the entertainers such
as font faces, etc.

:>I'm not saying that HTML must meet the requirements of the
:>Entertainment business -- they'll be happy with Java, PDF,
:>noise-makers, or whatever technology de jure makes the box sing and
:>dance.

But for now, let's give them exactly what they want as far as
HTML goes?

:>It's just that there's a LOT more resource behind the glitzy stuff
:>than there is behind stuff like math.

Please, I'd be very interested in seeing some kind of evidence for
this.  Even in the commercial intranet sites I've worked on, math
is far more important than font faces, image justification, etc.
I've made far more money doing internal only sites for businesses,
who want math tags for their accounting and engineering depts, and
want the presentation stuff for their external sites.

Let us not forget that the stuff that we do for the 'Net affects what
people use off the 'net, and while presentation is wanted/needed, so
are things such as SGML compliance for internal search engines based
on content weighting of tags based on software developed with the
Internet in mind, but just as useful in intranet, at least while
that stuff makes any difference.  I know that the academics want
math tags to show research on the net, but companies want them to
distribute internal information within their intranets.

The techology is so immature and while on the Internet Mr. Seigel's
comments may reflect some people's feelings about the 'Net, they
stray quite a way from the overall reality of where the technologies
based on the WWW are currently being deployed.

After viewing his site, and looking at some of the tips and tricks
he uses, I can see why he wants more presentation based markup, and
why he weights so called academic and commercial concerns so much
lower than what he wants.  It's past and dying media thinking meeting
new and useful media.

3.2 is a throwback.  If this is really what we can expect from
W3C as far as the future of HTML goes, then we might as well just
ignore standardizing HTML and trying to make it useful and just let
the browser manufacturers define it as they go.  Forget the DTDs
for tags that don't really fit in DTDs and let the browser makers
fight over how to implement each other's cruft.  The first one to
implement any truly meaningful subset of math tags will get plenty
of orders from companies who need a browser to read their internal
pages.

Matt