W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > January 2001

Re: client side includes

From: Arjun Ray <aray@q2.net>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2001 20:30:52 -0500 (EST)
To: www-html <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.21.0101242010110.8804-100000@info.q2.net>
On Wed, 24 Jan 2001, Russell O'Connor wrote:
> On Wed, 24 Jan 2001, Daniel Hiester wrote:

>> it would be nice if there was something like this:
>> <link rel="import" type="text/html" href="file.html" />
> The problem with this and using OBJECT to include documents, is that
> 2. Includes like this do not become part of the documents GROVE 

Right.  And that defeats the point of an "include", doesn't it?

Clause 15 of ISO 8879 deals with conformance.  15.3.5 "Consistency of
Parsing" has this for "conforming systems":

  A conforming SGML system shall parse the same document identically
  for all applications and processes that operate on it.
  1.  An application program, using normal interfaces to the SGML
  parser, should not be able to affect the state of the parse, such
  as by generating text and causing it to be parsed as though it were
  part of the document.  Documentation for application developers
  should make them aware of this requirement.
  2.  This requirement enables a system to be tested for conformance
  without having to test every application.

So, the problem is the same with <link>, or <object> or every drooling
code-kiddie's favorite, document.write(): in a conforming system, they
can't be used to generate part(s) of the *current* document (but using
them to effect the generation of content for a new context is fine.)

In fact, this is what separates documents from programs (anyone
remember Dan C's old rant on this and the halting problem?[1])  

[1] http://www.nyct.net/~aray/notes/danc-formweb.txt is a copy from
(IIRC) the www-talk list.  I can't seem to find a working link to the
updated version that I remember DanC published at some point.

> Entities do not have the above problem.

Yep.  But that's SGML, and everyone knows that the SGML-ness of HTML
is one old and very sick joke.  NIH rules.

"The bottomline is that it is really difficult to solve a problem
 when the problem does not exist." - Masataka Ohta.
Received on Wednesday, 24 January 2001 19:19:53 UTC

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