Re: Fate of <P> [Was: Toward Closure on HTML] (Chris Lilley, Computer Graphics Unit)
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 1994 14:58:46 --100
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From: (Chris Lilley, Computer Graphics Unit)
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
Subject: Re: Fate of <P> [Was: Toward Closure on HTML]
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Marc wrote:

>Brian Behlendorf writes:

>> Or maybe I'm just worried about the 500 HTML pages I'd have to update
>> to account for this </P> daemon.  

>You won't.  Nobody will adopt it should it actually appear.  (I'm not
>being belligerent, I'm just stating a fact 

Unless you have a validated crystal ball implementation, you are stating an 
opinion. Perhaps based on wide experience, but an opinion none the less.

>-- document creators won't go for it.)

You mean, creators of existing documents won't update or creators of existing 
documents won't change for new documents or new creators of documents won't 
adopt the new usage ;-)

If the tutorials are updated - and one of them already describes the <p> ... 
</p> form, which is already accepted by Mosaic for X - new users will clearly 
use the new form because they will not know any different. Users of conversion 
tools will use the new form without realising it because their tools will use 
the new form. Users of less primitive tools than a straight text editor will use 
the new form because they will not see actually type in the tags themselves.

I see no reason why existing html authors will not accept the change for new 
documents. It is trivial and makes the <p> tag consistent with other tags. 

And all us html writers are the crest of a new wave, hip to the future, right? 
So describing the old form as 'obselete', 'old-style', 'deprecated' and 'still 
supported for backwards compatibility' will be a potent use of our fashion 
victim status to encourage us to change ;-) ;-)

That leaves existing documents. 

Ones that have been converted, eg from LaTeX or Frame, can be re-converted using 
newer versions of ht ese tools - which will happen anyway to documents that are 
being maintatained. 

For manually written documents, a widely available awk script to update them 
would be a help here. Documents that are actively being maintained or re-used 
for other purposes will likely (IMHO) be converted. Others will not.

Whether you see this as a problem depends on whether you see the current mass of 
web documents as being a substantial proportion of the web in, say, 5 years 
time, or whether you see them as merely the tip of the iceberg. I tend to the 
latter view.

Chris Lilley
| Technical Author, ITTI Computer Graphics and Visualisation Training Project |
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