Re: ISO and HTML

Paul Prescod (papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca)
Wed, 02 Apr 1997 05:48:37 -0500


Message-ID: <33423985.1DFA@csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
Date: Wed, 02 Apr 1997 05:48:37 -0500
From: Paul Prescod <papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
To: www-html@w3.org
Subject: Re: ISO and HTML

Jukka Korpela wrote:
> 
> 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?

Simple. Because the HTML 3.2 specification does not meet ISO standards.
It doesn't meet my standards either, so I'm not surprised.
 
> the 3.2 spec). But some of them are really strange like
> making CENTER element illegal, 

The CENTER element was a brain-dead Netscape-ism which is totally
unnecessary. It is an alias for <DIV ALIGN=CENTER>

> requiring that CENTRE be
> a recognized alternative spelling to CENTER (as an attribute
> value), 

Good idea!

> 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).

DIR and MENU have not found market acceptance after several years. They
should not even be in HTML 3.2 which was supposed to describe "current
practice."

> And some of them are good ideas in themselves, like sectioning
> elements, but involve a _fundamental_ change in the language.

There is nothing fundamental about that change. The start and end tags
for those sectioning elements are optional. Authors do not need to type
them.

> 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. 

ISO could cause confusion in the HTML market. That's a laugh. You
seriously overestimate their market force.

> 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.

"Carefully improving the HTML language." When is the last time that
happened? What working group should you and I join so that we can
participate in that process? What does ISO HTML have to do with you and
why will you be forced to "discuss" its "nuances." The sky is not
falling. Do not adjust your computer monitor.
 
> 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.

ISO HTML is not for the people who who are confused about HTML 2.0, 3.0
etc. ISO HTML is for the corporations and governments who need to set up
legal contracts based on the contents of faithfully rendered HTML
documents. It has nothing to do with Joe Homepage, or even with you or
I. 

Anyhow, since you are the only person who I have ever heard express this
negative opinion, whether in a W3C forum, on Usenet or elsewhere, you
are welcome to try and kill this proposal, and you can explain to the
governments and large corporations that they should really just use HTML
3.2 because it is "standardized enough."

 Paul Prescod