Re: Languages (was Re: Forms support in clients)

Dave Raggett (
Fri, 30 Sep 1994 10:10:43 +0100

Daniel W. Connolly writes:

> It's very difficult to keep system dependencies out of programming
> languages. Python does a pretty darn good job, but it still requires a
> certain class of machine to run, and many of the useful modules have
> to be ported to each new system.

> I encourage folks to explore "declarative" ways to express the
> features they need. (and use an SGML DTD as a way to specify
> the language... it's kinda ugly, but it works...)

I actually see a great future for SGML, as having richer markup
is just what you need if you want to do knowledgebased typography.
Right now when you maximise a Mosaic window, it looks a mess with
very long text lines right across the screen. Imagine instead the
advantages of getting a multicolumn magazine like appearence, where
the layout, including the number of columns etc. changes to suit the
current window size.

A knowledgebased approach allows the information provider to keep
stylistic control while adapting to the user's preference settings
and the fonts etc. available in the client. All this works much better
with richer markup, and will ensure that low-level page-description
languages play a minority role. MIT's Media Lab has been pioneering
these ideas and I am looking forward to exploiting them on the Web.

Dave Raggett