Re: textured backgrounds

Amanda Walker (
Thu, 26 Jan 95 19:33:58 EST

> While HTML is not a page description language, HTML in conjunction
> with other additions (like the proposed DSSSL-lite specification)
> is working towards making WWW documents have many of the advantages of
> a page description language (like control over the display).

Unfortunately, the characteristics of a good page description language and a
good markup language are quite different. SGML is designed to be a structural
markup language, and this is reflected in its syntax. Similarly, PostScript
was designed as a page description language. There is very little middle
ground, although style sheets do fairly well.

> The problem with Acrobat is that it is proprietary. We don't need
> another company controlling information flow by holding a lock
> on standards.

Acrobat is a published format. Adobe has no patents that it insists on
licensing, and nothing restricts someone else from implementing it. In fact,
you can now get things like Acrobat drivers for TeX, and will no doubt shortly
be able to view Acrobat files with freely available tools (as you can now for

> The advantage of HTML is that anyone can use it
> without being forced into one persons implementation.

The advantage of HTML is that it lets anyone (including automated software)
produce good-looking content without worrying about the details of

> As an aside, Image maps are take a long time to download, although they
> do preserve the users intent.

The more presentation detail you include, the longer it will take to download.
Images are just the ultimate example.

> By having an open standard for content
> AND display we open the doors for better, cheaper, more
> portable communicaton.

OK, then, why not use existing standards? ISO ODA provides a framework that
combines presentation and structure (and can even be aligned with SGML on the
structural side). Why design a presentation format in an ad hoc way based on
what seems "cool" this week, by tacking things onto the side of a markup
system? That's a lot of what I am seeing in this working group.

Amanda Walker
InterCon Systems Corporation