Re: A good how-to write HTML guide (was: Re: Agenda)
Thu, 13 Jul 95 13:26:59 EDT

Ian Grahm writes:

> At the same time, I think the importance of user guides is being
> underestimated. Most HTML authors use these online (or printed)
> guides to learn HTML -- they don't learn from the DTD or the spec.
> And, if we want ..."To promote a standard for HTML that will support
> the consistency....." we must consider document authors and the role
> of these guides.

Be that as it may, this group simply cannot (and should not!) take on the
task of vetting user guides. If the spec is sound, implementation will
be unambiguous and documentation will flow naturally. Of course, it is
always possible to produce bad documentation or guides.

> Whatever the spec says, designers must allow for all those hacked-up
> HTML documents that are produced by people who learn HTML from flawed
> guides.

There is a legitimate argument that the community needs to be liberal
about accepting legacy flaws, but how long should this drive the
specification of the standard? Should HTML be forever saddled with the
burden of careless authors who cannot balance a tag pair?

Standards of performance will rise as we improve the HTML standard.
It's been a year (Geneva) since the origin of this group. A year from
know, when we will have had a standard in place for some time, I hope
we we will not still be talking about the importance of accomodating
broken markup. If my tail light is burned out, I hope someone tells me
about it before I get a ticket, but if I DO end up with a ticket, I get
my tail light fixed, and everybody is safer. The time is coming that
we should start thinking about ticketing.