Re: Logo for user-friendly/browser-friendly/scalable pages

Charles E. Carroll (ccarroll@dfw.net)
Thu, 28 Aug 1997 15:49:15 -0500 (CDT)


Message-Id: <9708282049.AA17086@dfw.dfw.net>
To: www-html@w3.org
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 1997 15:49:15 -0500 (CDT)
In-Reply-To: <199708281840.OAA19664@geode.ora.com> from "Chris Maden" at Aug 28, 97 02:40:57 pm
From: "Charles E. Carroll" <ccarroll@dfw.net>
Subject: Re: Logo for user-friendly/browser-friendly/scalable pages

>The WIP is half-baked.  For starters, it was unnecessary since the Any
>Browser Initiative already existed (and thanks, Mike for the new URL).

But I think there's a problem with the Any Browser Initiative as
well.  Specifically, with the word "Any."  What about browsers
that don't support current HTML standards?  If I write a browser
which doesn't support <h1>, and I get 3 people to use it, does that
mean that people who support the Any Browser Initiative have to go
back and remove all <h1>'s from their pages?  Yes, it's absurd.
But if they don't, then it's not really an Any Browser Initiative,
is it?

OK, my example is farfetched, but the issue is not.  Lynx doesn't
support tables, after all.  Do we eschew tables?  Yes, I know
that many tables can be made Lynx-friendly with appropriate use
of <br>, <p>, etc., and I do when I can, but 1) there are some tables
which are not easily made Lynx-friendly, and 2) since tables are
standard HTML, why should we have to write ugly code like that?
(Ironically, it seems to be the tables which are there only
for presentation (which, I must confess, I do write sometimes)
which are easiest to make Lynx-friendly, and those which actually
contain tabular data are much harder.)

But supporting an "*Any* Browser Initiative" suggests that any
single browser can hold us hostage to an old standard, and make
any attempts to create new HTML tags futile.  I have at least
a few pages which are valid HTML 3.2, but cannot be said to
be compatible with any browser until Lynx supports tables.

Ultimately, there has to be a balance between the extremes of
every browser designer creating his own proprietary tags, with
no interoperability between browsers, and a stagnant HTML which
never introduces new features.  This is one of the purposes of
W3C, to find that balance.  The Any Browser Initiative ties us
too closely to the "stagnant HTML" extreme.

Disclaimer #1: I'm not anti-Lynx.  Quite the opposite: when
I first discovered the web in early 1994, I used Lynx exclusively,
and I still use it occasionally.  I even like it, for the most
part.  And I realize that it's written and upgraded purely on
a volunteer basis.  And that creating a tables interface for
a text-only browser is a quite difficult task.  I'm not
blaming Lynx designers.  I'm just saying that I won't be
held to HTML 2.0 because that's all that Lynx supports.
(And to give credit where credit is due, Lynx handles forms
very nicely, and writing that part can't have been easy, either.)

Disclaimer #2: All the above is IMO.

Chuck