Re: HTML should not be a file format, but an output format

Christian Taube (
Wed, 19 Mar 1997 12:12:09 +0100 (MET)

Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997 12:12:09 +0100 (MET)
From: Christian Taube <>
To: Stephanos Piperoglou <>
Subject: Re: HTML should not be a file format, but an output format
In-Reply-To: <>
Message-ID: <>

On Wed, 19 Mar 1997, Stephanos Piperoglou wrote:

> [...]
> A very large portion of the problems we have today with HTML and the Web
> stem from that precise problem - HTML is written by hand, on a per-document
> basis, by people. Why is this done? Mostly because most of today's web
> servers are based around a philosophy of document=file. [...]

Fully agreed.

> [..] One way or another, a few years
> from now we will have abandoned HTML as we know it and moved on to something
> (be it SGML or not) that offers a concise way of offering all kinds of
> media in a document over a network. Big deal. That's the EASY part.

[Aha, so THAT is the easy part.  I was beginning to wonder.  Thanks
for clearing that up ... ;-)]

> [...]
> What the Web should be, in my opinion, ladies and gentlemen, is a place
> where documents, designed in any way one wishes, served static or produced
> dynamically, are linked together. Once HTML (or some descendant of HTML) is
> used for THIS and ONLY THIS purpose, then people will finally come to
> understand the value of these depreciated tags.

What you say rings so true to me, it makes me want to cry. :-) HTML
simply should not be the format that gets written to my disks
(although of course in fact it does).  "Fighting the idiots that want
HTML repositories" -- this is a quote (unauthorized and with
apologies) by John McFadden of Exoterica, at the SGML Europe '96
conference in May 1996.  Your subject is a very good echo of this.


Christian Taube -- <A HREF=""></A>
PGP public key available. Any opinions expressed are mine! Thought for today:
Time is hard, like a tractor beam with computers, channels and impatience.