HDML

Paul Prescod (papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca)
Wed, 14 May 1997 09:03:29 -0400


Message-ID: <3379B821.E3D47DA3@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 09:03:29 -0400
From: Paul Prescod <papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
To: www-html@w3.org, hyland@uplanet.com
Subject: HDML

HDML is described at
http://www.w3.org/pub/WWW/Submission/1997/5/Overview.html

HDML may well be a good idea. I do not know that market and do not know.
The current specification is a good starting point but before it is
finalized some major things must be changed:

#1. It must be recast as XML. The authors have doubts as to whether XML
support the features HDML needs. I have no doubts: it can. XML should be
the basis for all new non-HTML W3C markup languages, and it was in fact
designed *precisely* for domain-specific markup languages for the Web.

#2. It must be renamed, reoriented and the changes the new name an
orientation imply must ripple through the entire document. The days of
designing markup languages for particular devices is *over*. If we
accept this proposal we will soon have "webtv markup language", "large
monitor markup language" and other device-specific languages. The
authors admit that HDML may be useful in more generalized settings for
some important classes of data. For instance they quite often mention
stock quotes and weather reports. Well why wouldn't I use HDML to
display those in a little corner of my 14" monitor, or on my TV with its
brutal resolution??

What HDML is *really* about is card-oriented transactional user
interfaces. Therefore it is best called the transaction markup language,
or the card markup language or some such. The language should be
reorganized in that light. Rethinking it in this way will make the other
applications more obvious and produce a better language that recognizes
the needs of those other applications. The resulting language will be
less device-oriented, more powerful and this will actually result in
MORE USAGE which will benefit handheld devices.

There should thus be a comprehensive review of the needs of other
communities and a review BY members of other communities -- e.g.
PointCast and the PUSH crew. Once this is done it may be found that all
that is necessary is a name change (I would be surprised, but it may
happen). If so the name should be changed, the language should be
brought into conformance with XML and the revised language should be
resubmitted.

One other issue: I do not understand why Unwired Planet wants to
maintain copyright ownership over this specification.

 Paul Prescod