Re: To <P> or not to <P>

On Fri, 16 Aug 1996, Brent Eades wrote:

> Is it because of HTML's often rather non-prescriptive nature? 
> Because of the confusingly different manners in which various
> browsers choose to render it?  Simply an endemic aspect of any
> language as open and collaborative as HTML?  I am sincerely curious
> on these points, and certainly not trying to be argumentative.

Here's my take:

HTML was created to mark up information in a meaningful way that could
easily be transported over a network and displayed through as many ways as

When the ""winsock revolution" came along a very large number of Web users
started using Windows.

A lot of corporate executives and other businessmen as well as private net
users decided that their pages needed to look nicer (and I will *stick* to
my resolution that, although I believe in stylesheets, and removing
rendering markup from HTML, most of the pages that use the extensions that
have appeared over the past years *do* look better). Netscape came along and
took advantage of this trend by including new markup in their suer agent,
which was adopted for exactly the same reason. The rest you probably already

The things that this condition feeds on are these:
a) Too many people are creating or paying people to create web pages that
don't have the slightest idea what content markup is and why it's so
different from presentational markup
b) The same people just want to make something impressive, since they're
usually advertising a product with the same mentality that they would market
it on TV, in the press etc.
c) The same people mostly use Windows (95) at 800x600 screen resolution and
Netscape Navigator to look at their pages (and, usually, insist that this is
the "best" way to view things for some reason)

(b), in my view, is not the problem. Stripping down HTML so that it's back
where the 2.0 proposed standard was is not the solution. Stylesheets are.
But if you don't have enough people *asking* for stylesheets and the removal
of presentational markup from HTML, then browser vendors (who will, in the
end, control which features get accepted and which do not, because they
control what the masses are able to view) will not use these features. So

If Netscape 3.0 had full support of CSS1, six months from now we'll be
looking back on this debate and laughing our asses off. IE did decide to
support them (I don't know how well though) but its market share is too
small, and it won't run on my Linux box, and probably never will.

Unless Netscape itself, with it's lion's share of the market, decides to
adopt CSS1 instead of working on ways to lure corporations to buy big site
licences by babbling about "collaborative environments" and Intranets and so
on, we would be getting somewhere.

= Stephanos Piperoglou = = =
  Four lines in a .sig can't say enough about why you should visit my page!
"I want peace on earth and good will toward man"
"We're the United States Government, we don't do that sort of thing!"
                                    [ from the film "Sneakers" ]

                                                       ...oof porothika! (tm)

Received on Saturday, 17 August 1996 06:29:32 UTC