Re: HTML is declarative on purpose [was: Web neurons ]

John Middlemas (
Wed, 29 May 1996 10:34:03 +0100

Message-Id: <>
Date: Wed, 29 May 1996 10:34:03 +0100
To: "Daniel W. Connolly" <>
From: (John Middlemas)
Subject: Re: HTML is declarative on purpose [was: Web neurons ]
Cc: "" <>,

Hi Daniel,

>HTML is declarative and limited on purpose. If it were
>turing complete, the only reliable way to consume the information
>in a document would be to "run" it. (Just ask the search
>engine vendors who are trying to deal with Javascript).

I can't really see the problem here. If any code sections within an HTML page were enclosed by say <CODE> and </CODE> extensions, then any search engine could be set up to just ignore those sections, by looking for those tags.

If people were actually interested to search in code sections then that option could be provided by the search engine too.

I believe the function of Javascript would be better done with other HTML extensions enclosed in <CODE> </CODE>, thereby maintaining integration. This might also make searching code sections easier too (at least you're still using tags).

The amount of code in any page could be minimised anyway, by using a network of linked small pages (as in "Web neurons") to do a task, rather than having a huge amount of code or Javascript within a single page.

I would think that if HTML does not soon become "turing complete" then it will be replaced by something that is. I doubt there is room for two separate standards so close together (say HTML & Javascript). This can only be inefficient.

Will check out your Web pages.
        Toward a Formalism for Communication On the Web Feb 1994

John Middlemas