Re: New tags. (fwd) -Reply (fwd)

Paul Prescod (
Thu, 16 Jan 1997 15:33:25 -0500 (EST)

From: Paul Prescod <>
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: New tags. (fwd) -Reply (fwd)
To: (F. E. Potts)
Date: Thu, 16 Jan 1997 15:33:25 -0500 (EST)
In-Reply-To: <> from "F. E. Potts" at Jan 16, 97 01:17:42 pm

> > The Web might actually be a BIGGER success than it is. Surely one
> > thing that is going to hurt these WebTV's (if not kill them) is that
> > most web pages are designed for VGA resolution as a minimum. I would
> > really love to see what the Web looks like at typical television
> > resolutions.
> WebTV is absurd.  The net is a packet network; animation and movies and
> all that type of thing works best over broadcast.  Also, the web is
> "pull," not "push," and does push poorly.  Why try to emulate a totally
> different technology?  Why not focus on what the web does well, rather
> than what it does poorly?

I think you're thinking of a different "WebTV" than I am. I am thinking about
the service that delivers Web pages to your television screen. In other
words it is just a Web-enabled computer attached to a television screen
with a "passthrough" that allows you to watch regular TV when you don't want
to surf. So it is "pull" technology and doesn't have anything in particular
to do with animation or movies.

My point was that delivering web pages to televsions sets would be a good
idea if the web pages were not micro-engineered for VGA+.

> It ain't so bad, Paul.  You've been there, you know that if these
> things are set up properly (which is what would happen were the web to
> really become open to SGML) there would evolve simple, webish DTDs and
> FOSIs (or DSSSL-o), along with the associated tools to use them.  

Over time. But in the short term there would be hundreds of error messages
about entities not available and identifiers not found, elements undefined,
etc. etc. SGML was designed for a system where somebody is in charge, not for
the anarchy of the Web.

> > "Mostly?" Rather hard to decide. Depends on who you talk to. 
> Yep.  See

Perhaps the ease of marketing XML is just a side effect of good language
design. =) I'm being half faceitious, but only half. XML simplifies generic
markup which is really the central concept of SGML. Validation is important
but secondary, in my mind, to the concept of generic coding.

> Keep in mind that the planet has millions and millions of documents
> already in SGML, and converting those documents so they can be viewed
> on the web is a very large, and expensive, task.  It would be a lot
> better, and far more economical, were we to build an infrastructure
> that could use them as they are.

I'm sure EBT will be producing a tool that will render your SGML as XML on the 
fly for you as soon as we have a spec that allows it. Considered in that 
way, XML is to SGML what GIF is to low-colour bitmaps or JPEG is to high-colour
ones: an optimized format for network delivery. In particular XML optimizes
network delivery by removing the need for parsing and using large "startup" 
files: DTDs.

 Paul Prescod