Re: HTML 3.2

Fisher Mark (
Thu, 09 May 96 14:39:00 PDT

From: Fisher Mark <>
To: www-html <>
Subject: Re: HTML 3.2
Date: Thu, 09 May 96 14:39:00 PDT
Message-Id: <319266DB@MSMAIL.INDY.TCE.COM>

Paul Prescod writes in <>:
>when it isn't, never has been and never will be. Period. Only Netscape and
>Microsoft control the "mass media" HTML spec and the best that W3C can do 
>suggest useful extensions like style sheets, OBJECT and math.

Please remember that Netscape and Microsoft _are_ part of W3C.

>Too late. A standard HTML is DOA. W3C can't enforce it. All they can do is
>make a robust HTML _variant_ that people who care about standards will
>choose over the other HTML variants. They can create an alternative instead
>of duplicating the work of the half dozen or so "market HTML" DTDs floating

There never will be _a_ "standard HTML".  Unlike most computer languages, 
HTML is used to express ideas to other humans, rather than to computers. 
 This means the pace of evolution of HTML will be much greater than in other 
languages, as what humans want to communicate to each other is orders of 
magnitude (IMHO) more variegated than what we want to communicate to our 
computers.  Whether IETF, W3C, or "Foobar's Better Browsers and Catfood" 
takes the leadership role in HTML development, there likely will never be a 
final standard HTML.  If there is, it will be because SGML (or its 
successor) will have taken HTML's place.

>Not true. When something is needed badly, like TABLEs, OBJECTs and STYLE
>SHEETs, the vendors will look around for a spec. It is easier than writing
>their own. They will take the spec, bastardize it, and implement it, 
>HTML 3.2 exists or not. This is where W3C can have an impact as DSR did
>before there was a W3C.

Very true.

It should also be remembered that many of the people who guided the Web's 
initial development -- people like Tim Berners-Lee, Dan Connolly, Hakon Lie, 
Marc Andresson (sp?), Lou Montulli, etc., etc. -- are still very much 
involved in the Web's development.  Yes, Microsoft and Netscape have added 
features that likely will be depreciated in future versions of HTML -- but 
not every experiment succeeds.  Had stylesheets been ready for HTML 
deployment in the early days, one of the major complaints I hear from others 
on this list ("presentational tag soup") would never have existed, as 
stylesheets will offer much more power to those authors who need strong 
presentational aspects to their documents.  But they weren't and they will 
be (witness todays announcement about Netscape 4.0 and stylesheets 
(InfoWorld story at 
so let's concentrate our efforts on moving forward.
Mark Leighton Fisher                   Thomson Consumer Electronics                   Indianapolis, IN