Re: How prescriptive can/should we be? [Was: DL content model ]

Murray Maloney (murray@sco.COM)
Thu, 17 Nov 94 09:55:27 EST

> Dan writes [re DT/DD]:
> > Peter Flynn writes:
> > Ok... we're trying to specify current practice, but we have on many
> > occasions decided that some practices are bogus and won't be part of
> > the standard.
> I'm still not convinced we should specify current practice where it's
> as bogus as (DT|DD)+. Either DL is a discussion list (in which case we
> want something like (DT+|DD*)*) or it's not (in which case we allow
> almost anything).

If you examine both content models closely:

(DT|DD)+ -- at least one of DT or DD is required
(DT+|DD*)*) -- nothing is required; DT or DD is acceptable
> If users are random enough to have used DD to indent a paragraph when
> they could have used BLOCKQUOTE I don't think we should encourage them.
> Better we should plan for align= and margin= in the future.

Trust me on this: Nothing that we are likely to do will
have the effect of encouraging or discouraging users from
doing what they know they can do with the applications
that are currently deployed. There is very little point in
trying to enforce the opinions of this small group on the
community that is using the Worlwide Web. And may I add
that the opinion of this small group would not be unanimous.

A far greater benefit would be derived from encouraging users
to create conforming SGML documents on the Worldwide Web,
even if the flavor of SGML being used does not represent
what many consider to be "best practice". For my money,
it is more important, in the early stages, that users develop
an appreciation for the benefits of using SGML and SGML tools,
rather than seeing it as something that prevents them from doing
what they should otherwise be able to do.

Most of the WWW'ers who have objected to HTML as SGML -- to me
anyway -- have complained that it makes it too hard to do
what they can already do with free-form HTML. So, if you accept
the notion that "by small steps we approach a state of grace",
then please accept these small things in HTML.



P.S. Yes Dan, I think that images should be allowed
inside of preformatted text.

Murray C. Maloney Internet:
Technical Publications Writer/Architect Uucp: ...uunet!sco!murray
SCO Canada, Inc. My Phone: (416) 960-4031
130 Bloor Street West, 10th Floor Fax: (416) 922-2704
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1N5 SCO Phone: (416) 922-1937
Sponsor member of Davenport Group (
Member of IETF HTML Working Group (
Member of SGML Open Internet and WWW Technical Committee