A single specification

Neil Murray (neil@telekinesys.co.za)
Wed, 20 Aug 1997 08:37:16 -0000

Message-ID: <01BCAD44.45BC21F0.neil@telekinesys.co.za>
From: Neil Murray <neil@telekinesys.co.za>
To: "'www-html@w3.org'" <www-html@w3.org>,
Date: Wed, 20 Aug 1997 08:37:16 -0000
Subject: A single specification

I would like to suggest/propose a unified, modular specification for the 
following languages / specifications / options:

- HTML 4.0
- CSS1
- The DOM (Document Object Model)
- ECMAScript (Formerly JavaScript)
- DOM / ECMAScript integration rules
- Other interpreted presentation / application options

The current HTML 4.0 specification provides extensive support for the 
integration of style sheets and scripting but does not include the style 
and script specifications themselves. This could set up conditions where 
browser vendors claim HTML 4.0 support without supporting any of the 
implied style and script extensions.

Another problem could arise where browser vendors implement vendor specific 
languages which would not support access to the DOM in a standard form.

If a new specification (Unified Browser Language (UBL) for example) or a 
unified all consuming HTML specification were created to incorporate these 
existing and emerging standards, then a clearer direction could be given to 
browser vendors.

The UBL could be broken down into various levels which would define browser 
capability very clearly.

UBL 0 (Standard HTML, No Scripts, No Styles)
UBL 1 (Style sheet extensions to HTML and style sheet interpreter)
UBL 2 (Scripting extensions to HTML and complete script interpreter)

Devices like WebTV, Windows CE Devices, Nokia 9000's etc. would probably 
support "UBL 0" or "UBL 0/1" for "presentation/publishing" only. More 
advanced devices might support "UBL 0/1/2" or "UBL 0/2" and so on for 
application purposes.

A unified specification would also provide less leeway for vendors like 
Microsoft and Netscape because the various language interfaces would be 
fully described. Extensions to the UBL could then easily be presented and 
added with embedded HTML extension so that the base HTML spec would not 
have to go through as many revisions.

I don't think XML will provide the kind of extension support required here.

Neil Murray
Telekinesys (SA) (Pty) Ltd
Telephone: +27 (0)11 3155964

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