How can we prohibit...

Roger Price (
Mon, 8 May 95 19:53:18 EDT

Dan Connolly writes:

> I aim to specify, in the HTML 2.0 document, with SGML as a normative
> reference, a language in the formal sense of the word; that is, a set
> of strings over some set of symbols.

> ... In fact, how can we prohibit documents
> that define a vastly different grammar by redefining parameter
> entities and declaring new element types? Can a conforming SGML
> application even specify the document element?

Standards writers are sometimes tempted to restrict the use that
standards readers will make of their work, but this is not usually a
good idea. I believe that its better to say clearly what are the
strings that the HTML grammar allows, and accept that the users will
also want to create other strings. If some hints or facilities were
provided by the HTML standard for an "orderly" extension of its
grammar so much the better.

If the grammar when extended by the user is nonsense, thats not an
HTML problem.

Please, no unduly prohibitive text.

Roger Price, Umass Lowell