Re: The Final Word On HTML

Liza Daly (ldaly@cs.bu.edu)
Wed, 25 Sep 1996 13:37:10 -0400 (EDT)


From: ldaly@cs.bu.edu (Liza Daly)
Message-Id: <199609251737.NAA20612@csa.bu.edu>
Subject: Re: The Final Word On HTML
To: www-html@w3.org
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 1996 13:37:10 -0400 (EDT)
In-Reply-To: <324962BA@smtpgate.ftt.com> from "Jason O'Brien" at Sep 25, 96 11:50:00 am

Jason O'Brien penned:

> I have been coding HTML for just over a year now and I'm tired   
> of people saying HTML is only a rendering language.  

Okay.  HTML is only a _markup language_.  Saying it is not doesn't
make it so. 

> HTML's solitary purpose is to exist as a standard programming
> language which allows for the same viewing of material no matter
> where you are or on what computer you access it.

HTML is not a programming language by any definition, and it is
expressly _not_ designed for the "same viewing of material," unless
you mean structurally.  The HTML spec can only suggest presentation:
"The EM element indicates an emphasized phrase, typically rendered as
italics." [1]  

The solitary purpose of style sheets are to ensure, as much as
possible, exact presentation of material.  

>   As such, HTML should advance into other areas of   
> multimedia, eventually eliminating a lot of the need for plug-ins -- HTML   
> is a very powerful programming language -- the problems today exist with   
> the standard idea -- Netscape and Microsoft keep developing tags which   
> only work on their browsers, making programming for the web a nightmare   
> in trying to determine exactly how your page is going to be viewed.   

There are a lot of different points here, but as far as HTML's
relationship to multimedia, I don't see why it needs to go beyond
<OBJECT>.  Languages like Lingo (for Shockwave) and Java are already
designed for multimedia applications; there's no need to duplicate
this work in HTML.

>   Part of the problems have been mentioned in the last couple of days,   
> with users having the ability to override your colors and fonts, have   
> their window size set any way they'd like -- the problem is there is no   
> standard which seems to work.

There is a standard which works.  It is up to the author to implement
HTML in a way that maximizes its presentation abilities without
sacrificing content.

[snip]

> You know that the majority of people with computers have to upgrade   
> almost every year their equipment (there are reasons nobody runs on a 386   
> anymore) so the same holds true for the browsers -- there is no possible   
> way to make sure your web pages are valid with every single way that   
> someone is going to view them (it's physically impossible) -- so the best   
> solution is to design for the majority of the audience that's going to be   
> viewing them -- through Netscape and Internet Explorer -- like it or not,   
> that's where the future of the Internet lies.

It is far from impossible.  My personal web site uses different
colors and font styles (via style sheets), as well as many attributes
that are HTML 3.2 only.  It looks prefectly presentable in MSIE and
Netscape, as well as Mosaic, Lynx and Arena.  I bring this same
philosophy of maximizing the audience to my commercial clients, who
appreciate that a greater majority of potential customers can view
their material.

--Liza


[1] <URL:http://www.w3.org/pub/WWW/MarkUp/html-spec/html-spec_5.html#SEC5.7.1.3>

-- 
gecko@retina.net
http://fovea.retina.net/~gecko/