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Re: So, what's left?

From: Murray Altheim <altheim@eng.sun.com>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 11:38:12 -0800
Message-ID: <388CAA24.93B012CA@eng.sun.com>
To: "dwagner@sa.kevric.com" <dwagner@kevric.com>
CC: "www-html@w3.org" <www-html@w3.org>
David Wagner wrote:
> It just hit me.  If I have followed the discussion of where the HTML and XHTML
> standards are headed, FRAME, IFRAME, APPLET, and OBJECT elements are all going
> away.  Does this leave ANY means to include content other than text, static
> images (including the limited gif animation), and the few XML content models
> available such as MathML?  Wasn't OBJECT supposed to replace IMG, and not the
> other way around?

As I've tried to explain, XHTML 1.1 currently has <applet> (if you read the
draft you'll see it staring back at you) and we'll be discussing in our F2F
meeting this week what to do with <object> (which currently isn't in the 1.1
DTD but my guess is that it will be). The problems with <object> are legion,
and we're actually collecting requirements for a redesign. Perhaps <applet> 
will go away if its functionality is included in <object>, perhaps we'll 
break <object> up into several pieces (since it really does three or four
things), who knows? We're in the middle of the process. Don't expect 
stability until something reaches Proposed Recommendation. 

As for frames, the industry, representatives of the authoring community, the
i18n and WAI communities, all agree that they should not continue to be 
supported. Frames have been broken since the start for more reasons than I
care to list. While those who like flashy pages are already screaming, our 
best response to those who care more about flash than the ability of *all*
people to navigate, bookmark, print and access online pages is that many of
the functions of frames will be much better served with XLink and proper 
use of stylesheets. One may not care about blind users but one might consider
everyone using Palm pilots and other devices, new browsers, etc. And as we
all move into an XML environment, frames will become even less interoperable.
> I would not like to tell people, "Well, since we upgraded to the most
> technologically advanced standards-based digital document formats available,

XHTML is a LOONNGGGG way from being the most technologically advanced format
available. The SGML industry has many more advanced formats and has been 
using them for many years. And with XML we'll be seeing these arriving on 
the Web. You might be aware that XML was originally called "SGML for the Web".
XHTML is *not* rich markup, and is in fact one of the simplest markup 
languages I can think of, which is obviously part of its success. 

> Am I missing something?

What you may be missing is that HTML was designed to work primarily as a 
fixed format in HTML browsers, and was driven by that application/market.
CSS was designed as the stylesheet language for HTML, despite the revisionist
history currently being promulgated. As we move into a much wider application
space (eg., small devices) and attempt to provide XML applications with 
similar functionality, you can expect that XHTML will stop using "HTML-
proprietary" features and begin using "XML-generic" ones. We're currently
in a transitional period. XHTML 2.0 will be the HTML WG's first "true XML"
(maybe "XML pure"?) markup language.

For example, the linking model of HTML is "proprietary" to HTML, so as 
XHTML expands forward in subsets and extensions, and as new XML document
types arise (which they are doing what seems like almost daily), *everyone*
must begin using a common linking syntax, XLink. We can't have a different
linking syntax, a different stylesheet syntax and attachment mechanism, a
different way of attaching scripting and behaviours, etc. for every new
document type. (Well, actually I expect that certain vendors *will* create
such beasts as an attempt to control their markets, but this will IMO
eventually fail).

Hold onto your hats, we're still working on this stuff. Nothing is final
until the skinny white guy stops singing.


Murray Altheim, SGML Grease Monkey         <mailto:altheim&#64;eng.sun.com>
Member of Technical Staff, Tools Development & Support
Sun Microsystems, 901 San Antonio Rd., UMPK17-102, Palo Alto, CA 94303-4900

   the honey bee is sad and cross and wicked as a weasel
   and when she perches on you boss she leaves a little measle -- archy
Received on Monday, 24 January 2000 14:37:08 UTC

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