Re: Attempt at HTML 2.1 (tables)

Dave Kristol (
Fri, 23 Jun 95 08:47:56 EDT

From: lilley <> said:
> Brian said [about making additions to HTML 2.0 independent rather than
> sequential]:
> > What we *could* do is give each incremental advance its own temporary
> > mime type, like text/x-html-tables, text/x-html-maths, etc.
> Hmm how many different permulations by HTML 2.8? What about
> text/x-html3; tables=no; maths=yes; figure=yes; style=yes; applets=no;
> Then every so often the whole standard gets an overhall and there is a
> new standard equivalent to the previous one with all add-ons set to yes?
> (Plus making html.reccomended stricter each time etc). At which point
> it goes up a major version number, or level, or both, or whatever the
> number is being called ;-) at which point we have
> text/html; level=3
> Just a suggestion. Of couse,in the real world, documents with tables
> are being served up as plain text/html and browsers ignore parameters
> to media types. Oh well. Click here if your browser supports maths
> but not tables ;-( barf.

The idea of negotiation got discussed at the IETF meeting last March.
People considered it very messy, making it too hard to write Web pages.
For example, if there were eight variants of available features, you
might have to generate 2^8 different flavors of a page.

The consensus seemed to be thus:
1) Work on extensions independently: tables, math, etc.
2) As extensions get approved, assign the next higher number.
3) New versions of HTML comprise all the previously approved extensions,
plus the latest one.
4) At some point an HTML 3.0 will be specified that incorporates the
previously (separately) approved extensions.

So, if tables are approved first, then math, HTML 2.1 would support
tables, and HTML 2.2 would support both. If math got approved first,
2.1 would support math, 2.2, both.

The scheme is simple. You always know a given version supports all the
preceding extensions.

So, let's not get hung up on what to call Bert Bos's table proposal.
Consider it on its merits. If it's the first accepted HTML 2.0
extension, it will be HTML 2.1. Otherwise it will have some other
number. If it's incomplete, it could still be approved, and a later
"extension" could extend his table proposal. And get its own number.

Dave Kristol