Re: HTML: Dazed and Confused

Paul Prescod (papresco@technologist.com)
Tue, 19 Aug 1997 14:53:21 -0400


Message-ID: <33F9EBA1.717BC6F0@technologist.com>
Date: Tue, 19 Aug 1997 14:53:21 -0400
From: Paul Prescod <papresco@technologist.com>
To: cottier@fox.nstn.ca, www-html@w3.org
Subject: Re: HTML: Dazed and Confused

Francis Cottier wrote:
> 
> HTML usage is rapidly degenerating into a real mess with browser
> incompatibilities, interoperability and validation issues. 

HTML usage was always there. It is no worse today than it was two years
ago.

> THe driving
> force seems to be towards presentation and appearance rather than
> content.

This is less the case today than it was two years ago. The W3C has
successfully redirected the major focus towards stylesheets.
 
> It is my understanding that the W3C does issue HTML standards (2.0, 3.0,
> 3.2 & 4.0) specifically to address these issues but I don't understand
> why they are ineffective. For instance :
> 
> 1) Why do there seem to be two interpretations/implementations of 3.2
> (Wilbur & CSS1) ?

HTML 3.2 and CSS1 are two different things. Look around
http://www.w3.org for more information.

> 2) Why do different HTML validators produce different results when
> evaluating the same page against the same standard ?

Some will flag things that are merely "good style" (according to the
validator's author) but are not technically correct. Some are incomplete
and only check the tag structure as defined in the DTD as opposed to the
constraints that are expressed in the prose text of the standard. Poke
around http://www.w3.org for more information. For more information
about DTDs and HTML's SGML underpinnings go to http://www.sil.org/sgml
 
> 3) Are the W3C standards written in such an ambiguous manner as to be
> virtually useless ?

All of the specs are publically available. You be the judge.

 Paul Prescod