W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > August 2005

Re: 1 webpage != 1 document

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 16 Aug 2005 21:09:21 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200508162009.j7GK9Lf01841@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: www-html@w3.org

> As I see it, the root problem here is that the model of a what webpage
> is says that it's one document.  But when did you last see a

A web page should be a single document in the sense that you should be
able to deep link to it and make use of it without referring to any
other part of the web site.  A document and the publisher's catalogue
are two documents, even though commercial web pages like to combine them
even for very small amounts of real content.

In my view, the sort of web page you are describing is a perversion
of the original web page concept and is a result of early GUI browsers
attempting to implement a poor man's PDF rather than truly implementing a
"web" browser.  Other factors that lead to it are a desire for branding
and to lock people into a site by making it self contained, the opposite
concept to a "world wide web" of links between pages (marketing people
often, mistakenly think, that the web is built from the fibre optic cables
that form the internet, but it is actually built from the hyperlinks).

In my view, the right solution would have been for browsers to use link
rel="contents" to locate and display the navigation information, always
assuming a windowing user interface.

You will still find original concept web pages, but they tend to be
written by individual academics rather than by organisations.  In the
original concept, web resources could be:  primarily navigations, in
which case, whilst one could use HTML, gopher was also appropriate;
mixed navigation and content, with the navigation as proper hyperlinks
(not "click here") embedded in the content; or could be pure content,
e.g. images used to inform, sound, Word documents, etc.  Today, Wikipeadia
is also closer than most things to the original concept, even though it
doesn't use HTML as its primary authoring language.

Incidentally, typical commercial web site designs don't treat each page as a
document, but treat the whole web site as a compound document.  Microsoft's
front Page even re-uses the term "web" to mean such a self contained, single
site, compound, document.

Note that XHTML 2 acknowledges that the use of mixed navigation and content
is endemic and has a navigation list element to bracket off the navigation
Received on Tuesday, 16 August 2005 21:40:54 UTC

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