Re: Separation of presentation and structure
Sun, 6 Aug 95 19:21:29 EDT

> As the focus changes, and it *will* change, I think you'll
> find more people looking to keep their data in SGML, and use
> technology like DynaWeb to make it available on the WWW. In terms of
> management, and maintenance costs, it makes the best sense...

This is assuming that people (a) are rational, and (b) take a long term
view. I am not convinced that either is true in any widespread sense.
Maybe I'm just cynical, but I've found in my experience that people
don't appreciate or understand structural markup. SGML based publishing
tools have had no success on the mass market, and SGML is hardly new
technology. Neither has LaTeX, Scribe, ArborText, or any of the wonderful
structural markup systems out there, some of them free and widely distributed.
One the other hand, PageMaker and Quark XPress have taken over the mass
market publishing industry, despite being completely visually oriented.

I think that a survey of content on the WWW shows the same trends at work.
People are pround of their spiffy image maps, Netscape "enchancements", and
cute visual hacks (like multiple <TITLE> elements that "animate" the title
bar on most GUI WWW clients). People want visual control, whether or not
it's a good idea. And speaking as a commercial vendor, I have to say that
trying to educate a user base that sees no need for it has a lot in commmon
with tilting at windmills.

I think, as I've said before, that we are seeing the WWW split into two
general classes of content: high-volume SGML-based content (IBM's web site
is a great example), and low-volume visual content (most small WWW sites and
personal WWW pages).

Style sheets may help this, once they're actually available.

Amanda Walker
InterCon Systems Corporation