Re: ISO and HTML

Jukka Korpela (jkorpela@cc.hut.fi)
Wed, 2 Apr 1997 10:22:48 +0300 (EET DST)


Date: Wed, 2 Apr 1997 10:22:48 +0300 (EET DST)
From: Jukka Korpela <jkorpela@cc.hut.fi>
To: Paul Prescod <papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
cc: www-html@w3.org
Subject: Re: ISO and HTML
In-Reply-To: <333BE9D4.19@csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.3.96.970402100305.26435B-100000@beta.hut.fi>

On Fri, 28 Mar 1997, Paul Prescod wrote:

> ISO is not competing with the W3C or IETF. They are
> validating W3Cs efforts in an international forum.

If they are, why does ftp://ftp.cs.tcd.ie/isohtml/README
list 29 (twenty-nine) differences between the HTML ISO proposal
and the HTML 3.2 specification?

Some of the differences are irrelevant or something which
might well be adopted as clarifications to HTML 3.2 (simply
by an announcement from W3C, for example, or by changing
the 3.2 spec). But some of them are really strange like
making CENTER element illegal, requiring that CENTRE be
a recognized alternative spelling to CENTER (as an attribute
value), and removing DIR and MENU since are "simply
sugared syntax for the <UL> element" (i.e. because implementors
have been lazy, implementing them using the same code as for UL).
And some of them are good ideas in themselves, like sectioning
elements, but involve a _fundamental_ change in the language.
The same applies to miscellaneous ingredients picked up from
HTML 3.0 and other earlier drafts.

> Why should we "kill" this?

Basically because we have a working standard now which is
sufficiently exact. Creating a more formal ISO standard
inevitably means that some things will be changed, causing
confusion. The standard would come out in a phase when we
should be working on carefully improving the HTML language
instead of discussing nuances of a specification which
summarizes the common basis of HTML implementations as of
early 1996.

We have enough confusion among authors and implementors
already. HTML 1.0 (anyone ever saw it?), HTML 2.0 (it _is_
an RFC), HTML 3.0 (there's still horrible amount of docs
referring to it as a reference spec), HTML 3.2, Cougar
(people seem to know a lot about this on the basis of a mere
draft DTD). Plus various implementations and manuals taken
as reference material by many people. Adding ISO HTML would certainly
make things worse, not better. 

Yucca, http://www.hut.fi/~jkorpela/