Re: color: NCSA Mosaic, Netscape, and HTML3

Lou Montulli (
Tue, 18 Jul 1995 18:26:26 -0700

On Jul 18, 5:53pm, Joe English wrote:
> Subject: Re: color: NCSA Mosaic, Netscape, and HTML3
> Lou Montulli <> wrote:
> > If multiple vendors are supporting these BODY tags then they
> ^^^^ -- "attributes"
> > are obviously not vendor-specific. Perhaps they are just a
> > good idea that should be added to the HTML 3 spec?
> Perhaps; perhaps not. If you think they're good ideas, why not
> submit a formal proposal to the HTML working group? Heck, even an
> informal proposal would do; Eric Bina just sorta casually asked about
> background images and the BODY BACKGROUND attribute ended up in the
> draft spec as a result.

They have been. I came with a list of ideas to the last IETF and
presented them to Dave Raggert and whoever else that would listen.

And Eric has sent several Emails to this list about the necessity
of having LINK, VLINK, and ALINK in cooperation with BACKGROUND.

> My intuition says that the LINK, VLINK, and ALINK attributes are
> bad ideas, since they presuppose a particular presentation model:
> (1) Imagine a browser that displays body text in black, unvisited
> links in red, and visited links in a shade of blue, fading from
> light blue to black depending on when the link was last visited.

The browser would obviously fade between the values given in

> (2) Imagine a browser that does not use color to distinguish anchors
> at all, but displays an icon in the margin instead.
> Naturally, such browsers could and should just ignore the LINK,
> VLINK, and ALINK attributes. But if LINK, VLINK, and ALINK
> belong in the spec, then so do LINKICONPLACEMENT (for the second
> browser, to tell it whether to put the icon in the left
> margin or the right) and VISITEDANCHORCOLORDECAYFUNCTION (for
> the first browser, to tell it how to compute what color to use
> as a function of how long ago the link was last seen.)

There is a big difference here. We implemented BODY BACKGROUND
and found that it was impossible to use without TEXT, LINK and VLINK
because you could use a background that caused the text and
links to become unreadable. We therefore had no choice but
to add the attributes to make backgrounds usable.

> Then again, my intuition may be totally off. (I thought
> the BACKGROUND attribute was a good idea too, but now that
> it's been implemented and in widespread use, I've had to quit
> using Netscape altogether -- I have a greyscale X terminal;
> 'nuff said :-)
Just tell netscape to always use your background image or color
and ignore any set by the document. You can do that in the
prefs or in your Xresources.


Lou Montulli       
       Netscape Communications Corp.