Re: My Friday-Before-Labor-Day Diatribe [Was: Frame document structure]

Murray Altheim (murray@spyglass.com)
Fri, 6 Sep 1996 13:37:34 -0500


Message-Id: <v0211010fae55f6caa32f@[140.186.34.50]>
Date: Fri, 6 Sep 1996 13:37:34 -0500
To: Foteos Macrides <MACRIDES@SCI.WFBR.EDU>
From: murray@spyglass.com (Murray Altheim)
Subject: Re: My Friday-Before-Labor-Day Diatribe [Was: Frame document structure]
Cc: www-html@w3.org

Foteos Macrides <MACRIDES@SCI.WFBR.EDU> writes:
>murray@spyglass.com (Murray Altheim) wrote:
>>[...]
>>Rather than spending so much energy on trying to make our screens jump,
>>spin and bark, lets all demand greater tools, a greater concentration on
>                         ^^^^^^
>>document quality, integrity and longevity, and markup languages to support
>>it.
>
>        Where should these demands be filed, once the IETF HTML-WG
>closes out, and the IETF, with its fully public review and standarization
>procedures, and it's unamibuous provisions for "change control", ceases
>its direct involvement in the development and standardization of HyperText
>Markup Language?

The same way it began the first time. The IETF has a recognized process for
creating new working groups based on need and a defined project. I agree
that there should continue to be a public design and review process part of
the IETF, that the Web is currently and should remain "owned" by the
public.

But for it to be relevant, the output of any new working group needs strong
focus and a tightly defined goal and agenda, and its product must remain
compatible with existing/planned/future tools. The ready existence of
stylesheets and architectural forms now allows HTML variants to map to
recognized HTML standards and display norms.

With the Web moving off in a direction some might consider not relevant to
_their_ needs, the IETF may continue its role in supporting public HTML
standards by closing the existing working group, and creating a new working
group focused on more tightly defined and structured markup. Looking at
almost any other popular SGML application (TEI, DocBook, etc.) one finds
HTML a rather shallow container for most content. This can be remedied if
there is sufficient demand, and the time, energy and commitment to pull it
off.

I have held back on delivering the modular DTD draft due partly to time
considerations, but also because I think that as a "platform for
experimentation", it is somewhat pointless to deliver that platform to a
working group that is dissolving. I would be happy to reconsider finishing
up the document as a beginning to a new working group, where its utility
would be more relevant.

Murray

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     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."