Re: Toward Closure on HTML

Bert Bos (
Tue, 5 Apr 1994 21:42:54 +0200

>From bert Tue Apr 5 21:42:22 1994 remote from tyr
Subject: Re: Toward Closure on HTML
Date: Tue, 5 Apr 1994 21:42:22 +0100 (METDST)
In-Reply-To: <> from "Daniel W. Connolly" at Apr 5, 94 09:15:52 pm
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Dan Connolly writes:
|In message <>, Jim Davis writes:
|> As you observe, people don't use an SGML parser
|>to validate their documents. There is no reason to think then that
|>they will ever start. That's reality.
|No, That's cinicism.
|The vast majority of computer users don't even know what a text editor
|is. They don't write programs: they use them. They know what MS Word
|is. They use applications to capture their documents.

Both sides are right, but you're talking about different groups of
people. Those who write HTML now will continue to do so. They are the
same people that prefer a text editor over a wordprocessor (I know,
I'm one of them). But many more people use WordPerfect, MS Word,
etc. and won't understand why they can't go on using it.

In the long run (say two or three years), more documents will be
generated with regular wordprocessors than with text editors. Most
authors will never see the SGML tags, just like they never see
Microsoft RTF or Postscript.

My advice: target HTML+ at SGML parsers, but keep it lightweight and
human-readable, because it seems neither Microsoft nor Wordperfect
really understand SGML yet. There will always be people that prefer to
work directly in HTML/HTML+ (just like there are people that prefer
Plain TeX to LaTeX...).

|I hope to see a day when it will be more valuable to spend time
|validating a document with an SGML parser than testing it by hand with
|different browser implementations, because the implementations will be
|too numerous to make it feasible, but they will each conform to the
|DTD. Call me a dreamer. :-}

I don't think it's a dream at all. I predict it will be reality sooner
than you think.


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