Re: Hot Metal and HTML

Tim Berners-Lee <>
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 94 09:29:37 EDT
Message-id: <>
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From: Tim Berners-Lee <>
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
Subject: Re: Hot Metal and HTML
X-Listprocessor-Version: 6.0c -- ListProcessor by Anastasios Kotsikonas
X-Comment: HTML Implementation Group

> > No. Everyone knows that the fragment you quote will display in a browser.

My worry is that if you define HTML+ not to be a superset of HTML,
then browsers will be built which only understand HTML+, and they
will fail on all the existing stuff. That is, it will today
display in a browser -- so long as it isn't hotmetal-like.
If we go the hot metal route, it won't display.

> That's not the same as being valid HTML.

I'm afraid is *is* the same -- the phrase "HTML" has already been
taken to refer to that stuff. We can change html+ but not HTML.
That is, we can define a new html+ level 1,2,3
but not a html level 2 unless it is backward compatible.

> Yes, "flawed" is perhaps OTT, sorry. Sure I didn't like it: it's lousy SGML
> and just makes life difficult (a) now for people wanting to keep their HTML
> docs in a manner consistent with other SGML applications and (b) in the
> future for people who want to use more rigorous SGML software. 

(a) I understand.  However, surely a paragraph separator is
entirely consistent with rigorous SGML. It only conflicts with
conventional usage, and that queers some people's software.
Don't call something which is not conventional unrigorous.

> You're talking here about
> not the ...HTML.dtd I looked at yesterday before I wrote my last msg. No  
> switching the files :-)

Exactly my point.  Sorry i did it accidentally.  I don't want an ad-hoc  
commitee doing it on purpose!

> This seems to be the problem: multiple copies each claiming to be the DTD.

> > There are thousands of people and scripts and programs on the net
> > churning out  "<h1>foo</h1>bar".  They us <p> as a separator
> > because that is how it was defined inteh HTML spec, first 

> > descripively in english, and later with the DTD.

> Right.

> > The closing tags </P> etc generated by HotMetal are not valid
> > HTML -- they will fail SGML validation.  They only work because
> > HTML parsers are specified as having a defined behaviour to ignore
> > undefined tags.  So an SGML program is taking advantages of
> > behaviour which SGML does not condone.  That would be OK by me IF
> > IT WORKED 100%.
> > 

> > "<h1>foo</h1>bar" is valid HTML and nothing can change it.

> Valid HTML 1, yes.

Valid HTML.  Not valid HTMLPlus.

> > This means that either
> > 1. <p> is kept as a separator, maybe with <pp> as a para style container,  

> Possibly, but preferably not, IMHO.

> > 2. We mandate that HTML parsers have a higher level of tolerance
> >    than SGML parsers, in particular they can infer opening tags; or

> No: HTML is either SGML or it's not. 

> > 2. Text is allowed outside paragraphs as well as inside, as
> >    Dave Ragget has suggested for html+; or

> Yuck.

> > 3. The new spec is called HTML+ or HTML2 but not text/html.

> Fine: this is what I thought we were developing: text/html2

Ok.  You agree with that proposal.  Is that agreement shared, guys?

I'd prefer Plus, as "2" sounds like a level or version number.
Plus sounds like a superset.  (I suggested "Netbook" but dave R
didn't like it. So we settled with  Plus).  Then at WWW94 everyone
seemed to think that HTML+ could be made compatible with HTML,
on the basis of whch we got all geared up into levels of HTML.
Now they are levels of HTML+.

If you call it HTMLplus and it is not compatible with HTML, 

people will just expect it to be screwed up by HTMLPlusPlus
when that comes. We have to make it totally clear what 

is compatible and what isn't.