re: A Modest Proposal

  What you propose is already in place.  One must only specify what browser 
belongs to what file type (file types being clasified by extension such as .ps, 
.gif, .jpg, .xls, etc) and that viewer is automatically invoked when the 
appropriate file is recieved.
  The hype about inlign stuff is that it would be much more useful to see the 
equation (or spreadsheet or graph or whatever) in the same file as the related 
text than to have to click on a "click here" space and then flip back an forth. 
 Also, there are no cross-platform standards for defining an equation, or 
specifying points on a graph.  Sending graphinc images for each equation and/or 
graph ties up entirely too much bandwidth and server time for the small amount 
of information involved.  For instance, a graphic image of a bar chart of 
population growth in the State of Texas could take around 60k (not a large 
graph, and compressed) while the data involved (the data points for the graph) 
might take only 1k. If a document contained 10 such graphs, the server is being 
tied up a LOT more than necessary.  Equations and Tables have similar problems.
  Inlines are a good idea for both the service provider and the client.  The 
problem is in trying to impliment the cross platform standards to make this 
stuff platform independant.
  Perhaps there's a middle ground.  Most GUI platforms (Windows, X, Mac, OS/2, 
NeXTStep, etc.) have some built-in ability to embed objects from one 
application into another (or they are getting there fast).  Perhaps the 
preferable route to take (to keep HTML relatively simple) would be to add an 
<INLINE ...> tag (I think this has been proposed) and define a standard set of 
"Inline Tools" which a browser could support to allow reading of the individual 
formats.  If there is no "Tool" for the inline, it is not loaded and instead a 
small graphic appears saying that it is available for viewing with an external 
viewer (assuming such a viewer is available).  The <INLINE ...> tag could also 
be used in place of <IMAGE ...> tags.

Received on Wednesday, 25 January 1995 09:13:56 UTC