Re: HTML 3.2 PR

Jim Wise (
Sat, 16 Nov 1996 03:44:14 -0500 (EST)

Date: Sat, 16 Nov 1996 03:44:14 -0500 (EST)
From: Jim Wise <>
To: Carl Morris <>
cc: "Harold A. Driscoll" <>,
Subject: Re: HTML 3.2 PR
In-Reply-To: <>
Message-ID: <>

On Fri, 15 Nov 1996, Carl Morris wrote:

> No, an SGML parser is an SGML parser, an HTML parser is one like I am
> writing, it can't process SGML.  HTML is an application of SGML,

If what you are writing does not understand SGML syntax, it is _not_ an
HTML parser.  HTML is the markup language defined in th HTML standard
(RFC 1866 for HTML 2.0, the current W3C draft for HTML 3.2).  If this is
not what you are implementing, you are not implementing HTML.  If, to cite
the examples you have given, your system treats <! foo> as valid comment,
or accepts documents without a <!DOCTYPE> tag, or without a <TITLE>
element, it is not HTML.  By definition.

> I wrote an additional letter stating it would be wise to address both
> developers and authors differently in this matter.  To a developer that
> is not going to process SGML, he better stop after the <! and wait for
> a >, because the part of trying to find the -- will only complicate
> matters.

But this is a valid comment: <!-- foo > bar baz bat -->
                 which ends not here ^^^,   but here ^^^.  Read the spec.

> To clearly define "SGML Parser" all I can say is "A Parser which can
> meaningfully process SGML declarations and tags" where an HTML parser
> simply "lacks any SGML declaration knowledge or use".

But to be an HTML parser, you must, for example, interpret comments as
defined in the standard, or accept doctype as defined in the standard.
Otherwise, what you are parsing is not HTML.

> Yea, lets look at this.  An HTML comment begins with a <! and --, but
> it never said what happens to the stuff between.  Now an HTML parser
> could be wrote to flag anything between as an ERROR.  Is that what you

No, because then it wouldn't be an HTML parser.

				Jim Wise
				System Administrator
				GSAPP, Columbia University
				* Finger for PGP public key *