Re: HTML 3.2: SGML Document Access (SDA)

Murray Altheim (murray@spyglass.com)
Tue, 21 May 1996 16:59:35 -0500


Message-Id: <v0211010aadc7e827deaf@[140.186.34.50]>
Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 16:59:35 -0500
To: "Harold A. Driscoll" <harold@driscoll.chi.il.us>
From: murray@spyglass.com (Murray Altheim)
Subject: Re: HTML 3.2: SGML Document Access (SDA)
Cc: dsr@w3.org, www-html@w3.org

"Harold A. Driscoll" <harold@driscoll.chi.il.us> writes:
>I note that the HTML 3.2 DTD (Draft: Tuesday 15-May-96) does not include the
>SGML Document Access (SDA) Parameter Entities [1] which were provided in the
>HTML 2.0 DTD [RFC 1866]. Was this because:
>
>  (1) it is a draft document, and they have not been completed; or
>  (2) SDA proved to be the proverbial "good idea whose time never
>      came" with a deliberate decision (quietly) made to drop it.
>
>Most certainly the reason is not the remaining possibility, that
>  (3) the needs of disabled/handicapped folks were not of concern.

Support for SDA attributes in HTML 2.0 was provided by adding attributes to
HTML elements that provided a method of transforming specific HTML features
into a close equivalent in the ICADD DTD. While the intent was laudable,
this essentially muddies up one SGML application by hardwiring in a
specific version of another SGML application's productions.

I can't speak for Dave, but I'm sure that the omission of SDA attributes
from HTML 3.2 was not because support for the "disabled/handicapped" was
not important, rather that there are better methods of providing this
support. Transformation from one SGML application to another can be
provided by transformation DTDs or through use of an SGML Link Process
Definition (LPD). There is a preliminary version of an HTML to ICADD LPD
written as part of a working draft of the modular HTML DTD at

    http://www.stonehand.com/murray/modular.html

specifically:

    http://www.stonehand.com/dtd/html20m/sda.lpd

[...]
>On the other hand, if SDA is effective (or does show promise) than I'd
>suggest its retention should be an important aspect of HTML 3.2.

If this is of real concern to people with time to invest in testing and
proving the efficacy of the design, then I would suggest working up a
compatible HTML 3.2 to ICADD 1.1 LPD, and providing supportive
documentation for this feature.

If any members of ICADD wish to participate in this effort, please get in
touch with me and perhaps we can create up some type of working draft for
submission to the authors of the W3C draft.

Murray

```````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````
     Murray Altheim, Program Manager
     Spyglass, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts
     email: <mailto:murray@spyglass.com>
     http:  <http://www.stonehand.com/murray/murray.html>
            "Give a monkey the tools and he'll eventually build a typewriter."