Re: HTML 4.0 draft available

E. Stephen Mack (estephen@emf.net)
Fri, 11 Jul 1997 17:05:59 -0700


Message-Id: <3.0.3.32.19970711170559.007682c4@emf.net>
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 1997 17:05:59 -0700
To: www-html@w3.org
From: "E. Stephen Mack" <estephen@emf.net>
Subject: Re: HTML 4.0 draft available
In-Reply-To: <Pine.LNX.3.95.970711215828.110B-100000@fenchurch.hol.gr>

On Wed, 9 Jul 1997, jptxs wrote:
>> one of the wonders of HTML [3.2 and down] is it's intuative
>> simplicity.  [...] to shut out all the people who code HTML
>> because they read about how to do it on the web one day and
>> found it was easy would be a real shame, and would definitely
>> take a good deal of the world-wide out of the web.  

At 10:08 PM 7/11/97 +0300, Stephanos Piperoglou wrote:
> Wrong, downright wrong.
> Most people today publish using editors. [...]
> A good spec, even if it's too complicated for the average lay
> publisher, will be good for authoring tools, who can now have
> ALL the features that publishers want, while maintaining
> consistency.

I respectfully disagree.  I doubt you'd be able to prove your
assertion that most people use an HTML editor (how could such
a statistic be meaningfully collected?), but I think you're
forgetting why most of us are here on this mailing list.

The Web is so popular because of the explosion that took place
*before* the existence of any HTML editors that wrote HTML code
for the user.  A huge reason why the Web's popularity exploded
is because HTML was and is simple enough for non-programmers
to use.

HTML 3.2's specification was too complicated in most parts for
a non-technical user without SGML knowledge.  The new HTML 4.0
draft specification is definitely complicated, but also much more
accessible and contains almost all the tools necessary to
read the DTD and understand it.

I agree with the mission statement in HTML 4.0's about.html, that
defines the target audience of the spec:

> This document has been written with two types of readers in mind:
> HTML authors and HTML implementors. We hope the specification
> will provide authors with the tools they need to write efficient,
> attractive, and accessible documents, without overexposing them
> to HTML's implementation details. Implementors, however, should
> find all they need to build user agents that interpret HTML
> correctly. 

At least in the short term, i believe that there is a huge audience
of Web authors who code HTML by hand.  They are very interested in
the changes made for HTML 4.0 and want to be able to read the
specification themselves.

I think that "A good spec, even if it's too complicated for the
average lay publisher" would be a mistake.  (Even with the
existence of HTML 4.0 reference and tutorial works like the one
I'm co-writing.)  I suspect that many average lay publishers want
to be able to read the spec themselves.
-- 
E. Stephen Mack <estephen@emf.net>
http://www.emf.net/~estephen/