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Re: SGML SHORTTAGS Feature usage in HTML 4.x Recommendation.

From: William F Hammond <hammond@csc.albany.edu>
Date: 17 Nov 2002 08:46:34 -0500
To: W3C HTML Mailinglist <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <i7wunc48cl.fsf@hilbert.math.albany.edu>

"Russell O'Connor" <roconnor@math.berkeley.edu> writes:

> On 13 Nov 2002, William F Hammond wrote:
> 
> > I think this issue comes down to the question of whether HTML 4.01 is
> > an SGML application (and nothing more than that) or whether HTML 4.01
> > is its *own thing* with which there is a canonically associated SGML
> > application[1].
> 
> Clearly HTML is an SGML application because according to section 4.2 of
> HTML 4.01 spec
> 
> ``HTML 4 is an SGML application conforming to International Standard ISO
> 8879 -- Standard Generalized Markup Language SGML (defined in
> [ISO8879]).''
> 
> > The latter is correct.  For example, one cannot make it a requirement
> > in an SGML application that there be a formal public identifier since
> > from the point of view of the strict SGML world an SGML document is
> > the full assemblage.
> 
> I believe the above is also true.  Clearly HTML is not an SGML application.
> 
> Basically the HTML specification is inconsistent.  I'm sure the W3C is
> aware of this.  I'm not sure why it doesn't bother them.  I know it keeps
> me awake at night.

In fact, none of the associated SGML applications has "HTML 4" as a
subphrase (not to be confused with substring) of its formal public
identifier.

Where the spec says that "HTML 4" is an SGML application, its authors
are using somewhat imprecise language.  As a statement about each of
the three versions of HTML 4.01 this use of language is roughly
equivalent to that of a mathematician who says that a ring is a left
module over itself when actually the left module is only canonically
associated with the ring.

                                    -- Bill
Received on Sunday, 17 November 2002 08:46:44 GMT

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