Re: hmmm... servers producing per-browser customised output.

Joe English (
Wed, 02 Nov 1994 10:13:47 -0800

"CyberWeb" <web@sowebo.CHARM.NET> wrote:

> anthony baxter wrote:
> >[...]
> > I'm dreading the day where pages are just one large imagemap gif of the
> > page, exactly as the provider wants it to look.
> >
> I have been involved with a group who were contemplating setting
> up a WWW-based newspaper. One of their major concerns was how to
> get a satisfactory layout. In particular, many of the members
> wanted to be able to preserve the columnar style of classical
> newspapers.

For online browsing? Yeesh.

Do they also want to preserve the style of stopping
in the middle of a sentence and saying "Continued on
page 32, column 4"?

>I'd expect the <Table> tag to be good for this, but
> till that's widely supported, one approach that I demonstrated
> to the group was exactly that: pages done as gifs! And they liked
> it..

The hypertext version of the HDF (Hierarchical Data Format)
reference manual at NCSA does something like that. All the
tables in the original document get turned into GIFs for
the HTML version.

Since most of the important information is in the tables,
they hypertext version is almost useless. You can't search
for a text string, you can't read the thing at all in
Lynx, and I can't even read it on my X terminal with Mosaic
or Netscape since the images eat all available server memory.
Worst of all, none of the tables really *need* to be tables
in the first place: they could all be rendered quite effectively
with <Hn>s and lists.

(See <HURL:>
for the offending document. Make sure you've got some time
to kill before you follow any of the sublinks.)

--Joe English