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

Paul Prescod (
Sat, 22 Mar 1997 19:16:26 -0500

Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 1997 19:16:26 -0500
From: Paul Prescod <>
Subject: Re: HTML should not be a file format, but an output format

nemo/Joel N. Weber II wrote:
> But then there's the question of what format to generate.  Plain text
> will work fine, but it destroys the formatting.  I could use TeX
> or HTML as the output format easily enough.  But what would really
> be optimal for the current use is creating files in the native format
> of a particular proprietary word processor, for which I have no documentation.

That's easy. Convert them to SGML and use DSSSL to convert them into
beautiful RTF, which is essentially Word's internal native format.
> So I conclude that something standard like HTML is a great storage format.

Something standard, yes. HTML, no. If HTML is such a perfect storage
format why are you hesitating at converting your documents into it?

> But I don't see why one file == one page ever causes lossage on the web.

It doesn't. It is just inconvenient. File breakup of information never
causes lossage -- files can always be "cat"ted. One file per page in a
DTP program wouldn't cause lossage either: the word processor would just
have to manage overflow from one page to another by shifting the
overflow of one file to another. But that would be inconvenient, just as
one file per page is inconvenient on the Web.
 Paul Prescod