Re: Interest in HTML Conformance?

Liam Relihan (
Tue, 12 Apr 1994 13:58:50 +0100 (WET DST)

On Tue, 12 Apr 1994, David Bianco wrote:
> Hmm, you know, on further thought, I'm not certain I like the idea of
> "levels" of HTML. Exactly why is this necessary? I think it has
> great potential to make things much more confusing. With all these
> different levels of support, how will a client know what level of HTML
> the document supports? What happens if it gets a document which
> conforms to a higher level than it does?

Well, I reckon that there will always be "clients and clients". That is,
there shall always be some clients that simply cannot handle the more
sophisticated features that others can. At the moment, there are as many
"levels" of HTML as there are clients. By creating some kind of a level
system or a versioning system of HTML, client developers can strive to
meet the next highest level. This ensures that there is only a very finite
number of possible "levels" and the HTML capabilities of a particular
client are immediately apparent.

> It seems to me that perhaps anyone who's not using one of the most
> featureful browsers (such as Mosaic) is going to get screwed over when
> it comes to browsing. Many of the people who offer HTML documents are
> WWWeenies (hey, myself included 8-), who love nothing better than to
> include lots of neat-o HTML tricks in their documents. Anyone with a

I must plead guilty :-)

> browser which does not conform to the higher levels of the spec would
> be lost when viewing these pages. Of course, it'd be nice if both
> document providers and document consumers would migrate up the food
> chain into sophisticated tools which support high levels of the spec,
> but then we've wasted the time we put into defining the lower levels.

I don't think so...the lower level specs will be needed for those upwardly
mobile clients.

> I propose instead that each distinct draft of the HTML (HTML+?) specs
> be assigned a version number. This would allow a tangible, definitive
> specification for HTML to be established, and also allow it to be
> enhanced without the confusion of trying to figure out exactly what
> constitutes "standard" HTML and what doesn't. Clients can still claim
> conformance to a specific version number, which is similar to claiming
> conformance to a level of HTML, but since only one level is current at
> any given time, there should be no confusion over what your browser
> supports.

This is very similar to the level system...obviously the higher the level
of your client the better, so I suppose only "one level is current".

I reckon we more or less agree with each other, except that you are
proposing that the versions be defined as development takes
place...however, I still think that we shall need to decide what is "base


 Liam Relihan,                 |   |\       Voice: +353-61-333644 ext.5015
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