Re: HTML Elitism

Dave Carter (dxc@ast.cam.ac.uk)
Thu, 11 Sep 1997 10:06:39 +0100 (BST)


Date: Thu, 11 Sep 1997 10:06:39 +0100 (BST)
From: Dave Carter <dxc@ast.cam.ac.uk>
To: Jordan Reiter <jreiter@mail.slc.edu>
cc: www-html@w3.org
In-Reply-To: <l03110702b03cc53b3e30@[192.168.1.117]>
Message-ID: <Pine.SOL.3.96.970911095501.16570A-100000@cass40>
Subject: Re: HTML Elitism



On Wed, 10 Sep 1997, Jordan Reiter wrote:

> While I admire your resolve, Dave, I can't help noticing this is sort of
> like designing the perfect car that's unlike all the others, building your
> own perfect highway that's better than all the others, and then driving
> absolutely nowhere.  One of the most important aspect of the web is being
> able to reach as many people as possible--otherwise, why not just use a
> proprietary platform and file format?

But thats precisely what I don't want. What we disagree on is that I don't
want you to be able to do it either. I intend to mark up information in
such a way that any reader in any browsing situation, graphical or
text-only, on an academic network or on the end of a 300 baud modem
and paying their own bills, in rich countries or the third world, can
read it with equal facility. What I am complaining about is that there is
a class of such information, i.e. mathematical equations, that it used
to be possible to mark up in such a way and now it isn't. And instead
W3C have chosen to standardise elements which are poorly thought out, and
can only possibly work in a subset of browsing situations. Ok, there were
certain elements in HTML 2 (such as <IMG>) for which that was true, here
for example requiring ALT text is an improvement (not as large a one as
replacing <IMG> with <FIG> would have been). Quite frankly it doesn't
worry me if Netscape and MSIE support non-standard constructs, as long as
they support standard ones. They appeal to that fraction of the world
which doesn't care about standards. As I said in the previous message
which you dug up, they have nothing to say to me nor I to them. 

Dave Carter