Murray's comments on HTML 2.0 spec

Murray Maloney (murray@sco.COM)
Tue, 22 Nov 94 09:03:54 EST


Here are my comments. Some of them have already been mentioned.
[This started out to be "just a few comments"]

P 3. Could we have a more detailed TOC?

P 5. Para 1: "... (HTML) is a simple markup system ..."
Shouldn't that be "markup language"?

P 8. Headings: Please insert <P> before text of sample paragraphs.
I'd really rather we followed "best practice" in coding examples.
Not including </P> is perferctly appropriate and legal.
Not including the <P> after a heading is also legal, but...

P10. Ordered List and Unordered List: Seems as though the
examples are swapped.

P10. "2.1.4 Character Formatting Elements": The title should
more properly be "Information Type and Character Style Elements"

We agreed that for all of these items we would describe
the "typical rendering" of the element. I note that
several elements do not contain any rendering hints,
and that others (I, B, TT) specifies rendering explicitly
rather than suggesting a "typical rendering". Please fix.

P11. Code: Indicates an inline example of code

P13. 2.1.7: " shown in section 3.16.1"
should be " shown in section 3.16.3 and 3.16.4 and 3.17.1."

P16. "3.3 Depreciated ..." Please change all occurences or depreciated
to deprecated.

P17. Character sets: Paragraph 3: "...and character entity references
(see section 3.16) may ..." the reference should be to 3.16.4

P17. "3.5 Understanding HTML and SGML" Paragraph 2: "If the HTML and
SGML standards conflict..." should be "If the HTML specification
and the SGML standard conflict..."

P18. "3.6 Working with Structured Text" Paragraph 3 "If an existing
HTML document ... must be prepended."

Must be prepended by who and for what purpose? A browser
should "infer" the <!DOCTYPE prolog. A conversion program
should prepend it. Please be clearer.

P19. 3.6.2 and 3.6.3 don't work for me as siblings of 3.6.1
IFF 3.6.4 and 3.6.5 are going to stay.

What I mean is:

1) The structure is broken
2) I'd like to get rid of 3.6.4 and 3.6.5
since all of this is covered better and
in much greater detail later on.

P21. "3.7.3 Isindex" Sorry, but I did not feel that the
explanation provided here helped me much. I still
don't understand ISINDEX -- at least not from this.

P22. "3.7.5 Nextid" Paragraph 1: " the number of the next..."
should be " the name of the next..." or better yet
" the next..."

P23. "3.7.6 Title" Paragraph 3: Should be a NOTE:

P25. "3.8.2 Address" Paragraph 2: "Typically, an Address is italic
and may be indented. The Address element implies a paragraph
break." Should be: "Typically, an Address is rendered in an
italic typeface and may be indented. The Address element implies
a paragraph break before and after."

P26. "3.8.3 Anchor"

HREF attribute: Paragraph 1, sentence 2: "If readers select...
moved to another document whose newtork address..." should be
If readers select...moved to another document, or another
location in the current document, whose newtork address..."

HREF attribute: Paragraph 3: "If the anchpr is in another
document..." Does this mean "If the anchor points to
another document..."? Perhaps we could use the term "target".

NAME attribute: Paragraph 1: "...the destination of a link"
Perhaps we could use the term "target". I think that
this would help reduce confusion.

NAME attribute: Example:

An example of this is <A HREF="#coffee">coffee</A>

TITLE attribute: Paragraph 2: "... or while the documemt is loaded."
should be "... or while the documemt is being loaded."

TITLE attribute: Paragraph 3: Please remove or moderate
the editorial comment " sure to provide a valid
and unique title for the destination document." This
is is tip, not a requirement of the specification.

REL attribute: Paragraph 1, sentence 1: Append the
following phrase "from the anchor to the target"

METHODS attribute: A list of methods would be helpful.

P28. "3.8.5 Headings" "<H1> and </H1> ... <H6> and </H6>"
should be "<H1> ... </H1> through <H6> ... </H6>"

Also, the closing sentence of the 1st para should be deleted
as it is editorial. "Further character emphasis or paragraph
marks are not required in HTML headings."

In the final paragraph, "...discouraged as skipping header levels..."
should be "...discouraged as skipping heading levels..."

P30. "3.9 Overview of Character-Level Elements" Please delete or
reword the editorial comments in the last paragraph:
"Whenever possible, use character-level elements to indicate
the type of information rather than text formatting attributes.
It is ...." I don't recall this working group deciding that
character style elements were deprecated, and I object to this
editorial in the specification.

P30. "3.10 Emphasis" Please remove the editorial in paragraph 2.

P31. "3.10.4 Keyboard" What is typical rendering?

P31. "3.10.5 Sample" What is typical rendering?

P31. "3.11 Character-Style Elements" Please remove editorial example.

P32. "3.12 Image Element"

ALT attribute: "Optional alternative text as an alternative
to the graphics for rendering in text-only environments."
Should be "Optional text as an alternative to the graphic
for rendering in non-graphical environments"

P33. ISMAP attribute: Need pointer to information on using ISMAP
on the server side. This is simply inadequate as it stands.

P35. "3.13.4 Ordered List"

<OR> ... </OL> should be <OL> ... </OL>

P38. "3.15 Form Elements"

In general, I found this section much easier
to read than before. But I still don't understand
forms much better than I did before. Pictures
would help, but I don't suppose that is feasible?

At the beginning of the description:
"Each variable field is defined by an Input, Textarea,
or Option element and must have an NAME attribute..."

I think this should be

"Each variable field is defined by an Input, Textarea,
or Select element and must have a NAME attribute..."

2nd last sentence before 3.15.1 "typed" should be "types"

P44. "3.16 Character Data" Several broken xrefs.
Please double check all xrefs to 3.17.2 and 3.17.3

P46. "3.16.2 Control Characters"

Carriage Return: delete the phrase "except in preformatted text"

P46. "3.16.4 Character Entities" Paragraph 1: Append the following:
"See 6.2.1 for the SGML entity definitions of ``Added Latin 1
for HTML".

P48. "3.17.2 ISO Latin 1 Character Entities"

Please fix ETH, THORN, eth and thorn.
Also please fix accented characters as appropriate.
See my original HTML document.

P48. "3.17.3 Numerical Character References"

Please add # as appropriate

P53. "4. Security Considerations"

In the first sentence it states that "Anchors, embedded images,
and all other elements which contain URIs as parameters
may cause the URI to be dereferenced."

Perhaps I just a bit thick, but could someone please explain
how an element "causes" a URI to be dereferenced?
This section confuses me and I am concerned about that.

P55. "5. Proposed and Obsolete Elements"

This is a misnomer, as it contains entities as well as elements.

P55. "5.1 Proposed Elements"

This is a misnomer, as it contains entities as well as elements.

P55. "5.1.2 Special Characters"

Please add:

Registered &reg;
Copyright &copy;

P93. "8. Terms"

documemt type declaration: "A formal declaration..." should be
"A formal SGML declaration..." and "... DOCTYPE..." shoudl be
"...<!DOCTYPE ..."

rendering: "Formatting and presenting information to human readers"
Should be "Formatting and presenting information" -- please
do not make a judgement that either humans or readers are involved.

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
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Member of IETF HTML Working Group (
Member of SGML Open Internet and WWW Technical Committee