Re: HTML 3.2

Fisher Mark (FisherM@is3.indy.tce.com)
Wed, 08 May 96 09:14:00 PDT


From: Fisher Mark <FisherM@is3.indy.tce.com>
To: www-html <www-html@www10.w3.org>
Cc: "'Daniel W. Connolly'" <connolly@beach.w3.org>,
Subject: Re: HTML 3.2
Date: Wed, 08 May 96 09:14:00 PDT
Message-Id: <3190C8E4@MSMAIL.INDY.TCE.COM>


James K. Tauber writes in <31906803.B73@library.uwa.edu.au>:
>While HTML 3.2 is everything I never wanted HTML to become, I confess
>that it does codify pretty much what a browser would have to support
>to survive in the current market. (The existence of the DTD may even
>encourage browser vendors to produce DTD-driven browsers!)

Which I think is exactly the point.  The near future of HTML, as I see it:
1) HTML 3.2 codifies existing practice, helping to produce DTD-driver 
browsers.
2) Style sheets are added.  BTW, Microsoft has publicly said they plan on 
supporting CSS style sheets in a (relatively near future) release of 
Internet Explorer 
(<URL:http://www.microsoft.com/ie/author/html30/html_toc.htm>).  Netscape 
undoubtably will not be far behind.
3) The additional presentational control afforded by style sheets (over the 
current tag soup) makes style sheets the preferred method of presentational 
control.
4) Eventually, presentational tags in HTML will fade away.

Somewhere after (2), I expect to see the major browser vendors shift to 
DTD-driven browsers, as this will allow the vendors to code with a 
higher-level language (SGML) than straight C++ (or Delphi or whatever they 
use).  If HTML keeps evolving, it will eventually get easier to code to SGML 
or SGML Lite (sp?) than to directly parse HTML.

Although HTML 3.2 is a superset of a subset of the features in HTML 3.0, it 
is definitely a first step in the right direction.  Math support would be a 
big help around here, but as there will be much greater resources available 
for commercial and entertainment HTML enhancements, I expect to see those 
first.  Math supporters: put your money where your mouth is and help W3C, 
instead of expecting others to do the work for you.  Like it or not, there 
will be more resources for commercial and entertainment Web enhancements 
because of who uses the Web (i.e. 30% (vy. approx.!) of just the U.S.A. 
population, most of whom do not have heavy math requirements).

Dan: is this list the right place for public comments on HTML 3.2 and later 
versions (realizing, of course, that much development will occur within W3C 
before public display of the specs)?
======================================================================
Mark Leighton Fisher                   Thomson Consumer Electronics
fisherm@indy.tce.com                   Indianapolis, IN