HTML Standards [was: FONT tag]

Murray Altheim (
Mon, 18 Mar 1996 17:14:39 -0400

Message-Id: <v02110103ad7362d390d6@[]>
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 1996 17:14:39 -0400
To: (Mike Meyer)
From: (Murray Altheim)
Subject: HTML Standards [was: FONT tag]

Dan Delaney <> writes:
>> Alright. I have read from many people that the HTML 3.0 draft is not
>> accurate.

Let me try this again. This is another version of my note to Dan in
www-html under a different thread earlier today. This time I'll include
some URLs on where to find standards info for those interested in the
process. This is not really directed at you, Mike, nor Dan. Sort of an FYI
for those who haven't read up on the standards process...

Mike Meyer <> writes:
>Um, it's a proposed standard, not a description. It's accuracy depends
>only on how well it reflects the intentions of the authors, not how
>close browsers written after it was released (like Navigator) come to
>the spec. What you are referring to is adherence, and it's not widely
>adhered to. Very few browser authors are paying more than lip service
>to it, so it's usefullness for HTML authors is minimal.

I think part of my frustration with this topic is that I *continue* to find
new publications referencing the 'HTML 3.0 standard.' It may sound like I'm
being anal, but accuracy in one's language describing standards status is
important, given that inaccuracies lead to this type of misunderstanding.

To repeat, HTML 3.0 was an Internet Draft which expired early last fall.
Internet Drafts expire after six months and carry no status whatsoever as
an IETF standard. HTML 3.0 is not a standard -- never has been, never will
be. Elvis has not only left the building, he was never even in the
building. For something to become an IETF Internet Standard, it must go
through the IETF standards process.

The IETF home page is at

A 'visual' description of the standards process is at

The technical description of the standards process is written down in an
RFC (Request For Comments) entitled "The Internet Standards Process"
(RFC1310), Lyman Chapin, Chair - Internet Activities Board (IAB) at

which gives a rundown of how things progress from

              Internet Draft
            Proposed Standard
              Draft Standard
            Internet Standard

including all the other various possibilities (Experimental, Historic,
Informational, etc), what 'Standards Track' means, etc.

For information on current work being done on HTML, including features that
were once initially proposed in HTML 3.0, check either the W3C document
maintained by Dan Connolly at

or the IETF HTML Working Group Charter, including the list of current IETF
HTML drafts at

If anyone wants to participate in meaningful, fruitful discussion, add a
feature to HTML through the IETF process, reduce the noise level, etc.
you'd be well advised to read some of the above documents (probably less
than a half hour's investment for all).


     Murray Altheim, Program Manager
     Spyglass, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts
     email: <>
     http:  <>