Re: Interest in HTML Conformance?

David Bianco <>
Date: Tue, 12 Apr 1994 14:43:43 --100
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From: David Bianco <>
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
Subject: Re: Interest in HTML Conformance?
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Liam Relihan writes:
 > On Tue, 12 Apr 1994, William M. Perry wrote:
 > > 	o Browsers may implement different levels of HTML+ conformance.
 > > 		* Level 0 implementation
 > > 			+ HTML 1.0 spec referenced above
 > > 		* Level 1 implementation
 > > 			+ Partial fill-out forms
 > > 			+ New entity definitions (in section 5.1 of HTML+
 > > 			  draft)
 > > 		* Level 2 implementation
 > > 			+ Additional presentation tags (sub, sup, strike)
 > > 			  & logical emphasis
 > > 			+ Full forms support (incl.  type checking)
 > > 			+ Generic emphasis tag
 > > 		* Level 3 implementation
 > > 			+ Figures
 > > 			+ NOTEs and admonishments
 > > 		* Further levels to be specified
 > This sounds least it is well defined. It would mean that
 > there would be no excuse for level 'n' browsers to have different
 > HTML capabilities to other level 'n' browsers.
 > The above would need to be elaborated upon, of course.
 > Of course, for the above to work, we would really need for each level back
 > to 0 to be specified.

Hmm, you know, on further thought, I'm not certain I like the idea of
"levels" of HTML.  Exactly why is this necessary?  I think it has
great potential to make things much more confusing.  With all these
different levels of support, how will a client know what level of HTML
the document supports?  What happens if it gets a document which
conforms to a higher level than it does?

It seems to me that perhaps anyone who's not using one of the most
featureful browsers (such as Mosaic) is going to get screwed over when
it comes to browsing.  Many of the people who offer HTML documents are
WWWeenies (hey, myself included 8-), who love nothing better than to
include lots of neat-o HTML tricks in their documents.  Anyone with a
browser which does not conform to the higher levels of the spec would
be lost when viewing these pages.  Of course, it'd be nice if both
document providers and document consumers would migrate up the food
chain into sophisticated tools which support high levels of the spec,
but then we've wasted the time we put into defining the lower levels.

I propose instead that each distinct draft of the HTML (HTML+?) specs
be assigned a version number.  This would allow a tangible, definitive
specification for HTML to be established, and also allow it to be
enhanced without the confusion of trying to figure out exactly what
constitutes "standard" HTML and what doesn't.  Clients can still claim
conformance to a specific version number, which is similar to claiming
conformance to a level of HTML, but since only one level is current at
any given time, there should be no confusion over what your browser

Comments?  Am I worrying about nothing?  I don't think so, but I'd
love to hear what other document providers and consumers think about