W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org > October 1996

Re: A17: keep or drop entities?

From: <lee@sq.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Oct 96 19:52:53 EDT
Message-Id: <9610082352.AA14812@sqrex.sq.com>
To: w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org, bill.smith@eng.sun.com
> XML gives structure and tag extensibility.

HTML 3.2 has the CLASS attribute, so that instead of inventing a PERSON
element type, you can do
	<span CLASS="PERSON">
to accomplish the same thing.  You can't add your own attributes and
stay within the DTD (although HTML 2 did allow youto do that).

There is some structure with the DIV element.

> Stylesheets tell UAs how to interpret (display) content.
The CSS1 draft isn't the world's best thought-out style sheet language, but
it is a style sheet language.  Microsoft IE 3.0 implements some of it.
Netscape Navigator 4.0 will implement some or all of it.

If XML is no more powerful than HTML, and does not offer better presentation,
why use it?  Because it is simpler than something else also not being
widely used?

I think XML has to be simple enough to be implemented easily, but no simpler.
A 20 page spec in computer-science terminology and precision is a good goal
for a way of representing structured objects in a networked environment.
(are there any IDL &amp; CORBA people on this list?)

Note that the <OBJECT> HTML tag allows for the WWW equivalent of NDATA
entities -- you can include arbitrary objects.  It's slightly
more flexible, in that you don't have to specify the notation, but can
if you want to, and of course keeps notation (content encoding) separate
from data format (content type).  On the other hand, as far as I know,
the people implementing OBJECT do not let allow transclusion/embedding of
HTML, but only non-HTML data types.

So in some areas, HTML is catching up fast.  If the goal is to address only
those people currently using SGML, it'd be better to specify ways of
converting SGML to HTML with CSS1 style sheets -- e.g. using Jade or other
DSSSL implementations when such things happen.

So clearly the goal must be to address people who are _not_ currently
using SGML, but who are or are about to be publishing on the Internet.

At any rate, it is unise, I think, to assume that structure, extensibility
and stylesheets are the altogether province of SGML and not at all of HTML.


Liam Quin, SoftQuad Inc.    | lq-text freely available Unix text retrieval
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SGML - HTML - Other Things  | The barefoot programmer
Received on Tuesday, 8 October 1996 19:54:48 UTC

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