Re: SGML/HTML docs, X Browser

Tim Berners-Lee (timbl)
Mon, 9 Dec 91 15:33:46 GMT+0100

Date: Mon, 9 Dec 91 15:33:46 GMT+0100
From: timbl (Tim Berners-Lee)
Message-Id: <9112091433.AA06290@ >
To: (Pei Y. Wei)
Subject: Re: SGML/HTML docs, X Browser
Cc: www-talk


I have added you to www-talk as requested.

> I'm now browsing through parts of the WWW distribution, and I'm  
> lots of potential in it. It seems that the only browser is for the  
> a platform most people don't have access to, which is a shame. 

> I'm now seriously considering writing an X11 browser for HTML files
> by extending a program I've been working on (called VIOLA, a  

> somewhat like HyperCard)...

Ok.. sounds like a good idea.  Dan Conolly (Convex Inc) has put  
together a W3 browser for X but could not release the code.  A group  
of students in Finland were also going to do this for a project -- I  
don't know the status of that work.  Anyone who makes a good X11 W3  
browser will be very popular.

Now we have just got a new architecure for the browser code, with a  
generic (simple!) SGML parser, and basically all the browser code  
common (networking, name resulution, parsing) between different  
browsers. The new line mode browser is under test - it has NNTP  
access to news built in as well as HTTp and FTP access to indexes and  

> I'm wondering if you could give me some pointers to the standards 

> SGML and HTML (which seems to be the HyperText extention of SGML?).

SGML is very general. HTML is a specific application of the SGML  
basic syntax applied to hypertext documents with simple structure.  
The HTML tags used are in our documentation. (If you browse to our  
test document, it has a link to its own source which you can take as  
an example.) Type


and follow the first link to see the source.  Our code therefore has  
a simple generic SGML parser engine which handles nested tags and  
feeds a HTML parser which has hypertext-specific code in it.  That  
feeds a stream of style-changes and text and anchor start/end points  
into a hypertext object which is what we don't have under X.

> Anymore relevant documentation on SGML/HTML, tips, and whatever you 

> think may help me in my task, would be gratfully accepted.

I could make up a tar file of our alpha-test code, including the HTML  
SGML parser. Any pointers to SGML I have are in the web - not much  
public stuff. Two books are "SGML Handbook" by Charles Goldfarb, and  
"Practical SGML" by Eric van Herwijnen.

> Pei Y. Wei (wei@scam.Berkeley.EDU)
> Experimental Computing Facility, 

> University of California @ Berkeley

Thanks for your interest, welcome to the list.


Tim Berners-Lee             
World Wide Web project                (NeXTMail is ok)  
CERN                                  Tel: +41(22)767 3755
1211 Geneva 23, Switzerland           Fax: +41(22)767 7155