Re: Concerns about HTML+ complexity

Chris Lilley, Computer Graphics Unit (
Thu, 16 Jun 1994 20:18:36 GMT

Ken Fox wrote:

>But this is not really the same thing. These projects are (for the most
>part) sponsored and controlled by individual groups --- not some coordinated
>large effort. It's like saying the contributed software in X is more complex
>than the X server or the Linux kernel. This is not true. Indeed, the
>aggregate of all of the contributed X packages is *a lot* of code. But
>because they are all independent projects with little interaction, the
>complexity is containable.

Containable complexity. Exactly.

>I want to preserve the current Web model of lot's of people developing tools
>in all sorts of places with loose coupling between them.

So do I. I think we agree more than we disagree.

>Chimera is ahead of the game then --- I believe that the emacs browser does
>something similar. But this is still browser dependent (I can't write one
>external rendering agent and expect it to work against a whole class of

Yet. There is an interface specification in the works, it has been referred to
occasionally over the last couple of months.

>> OK then, I will agree with you. But the last thing we want is a monolithic
>> browser, so that ceases to be a problem.

>Let's not have a monolithic HTML+ standard then...

That is not the same thing at all. It does not follow from what went earlier.
Please show how going to a distributed model of implementation requires that the
HTML 3.0 specification be subdivided.

[about the commercial companies muscling in]
>I hate this possible future as much as you do. Why do you think that this is
>such an unlikely future?

I don't, thats why it wories me.

>Let's create an interesting browser/rendering
>market where "best of class" tool integration is designed into the

I think that is what I said, too. Yet you seemed to be arguing that only Frame
or Microsoft should develop Web software. Perhaps this was a straw argument and
I missed it?

>>Do you see
>> some huge corporation coming out with statements like that? No.

>No, but I do see some corporation modifying their desktop-publishing tools so
>that they "do" HTML+.

So what? If Frame can output HTML 3.0 I am happy (I use Frame 4.0 a lot, BTW).
So it can output HTML better than WebMaker? Fine, if the price is right I buy
it. I don't see that being able to convert WP to HTML has any effect on, say,
someone developping an applet for news posting or whatever.

>Then those become popular, the applet market goes away
>and the Web becomes a boring place to live (for a programmer... :-)

Not so. LaTeX2HTML is popular. Did that prevent Fish search appearing? Did it
stop Chimera coming out? I fail to follow your argument; these issues seem
nigh-on orthogonal.

>What a lead-in! This is exactly one of the things I want to see allowed ---
>you just defined a new tag (on the fly I suppose.) Why not allow the tag to
>be formally defined in the document header

a) and you were concerned about document complexity (according to the subject).
Oh well.

b) I believe examples of this markup have been circulated recently on either
www-talk or www-html. I confess to frequently being unaware of which list I am
on (blush). I gather you have to declare the thing using some ghastly syntax in
the doctype bit before <html> tag.

Anyway it seems we are pretty much in agreement. We just differ on how likely it
is that a browser can be built as a flock of applets and that applets could
conform to an interface specification and be portable across browsers. To which
I would say, when Steve Putz hacked out the Xerox map browser I bet he never
dreamed that CGI would let the same script work on CERN, NCSA and any other
compatible server. Proof by related example (grin, ducks)

Chris Lilley
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