Re: Toward Closure on HTML

Piglet <>
Date: Wed, 6 Apr 1994 05:26:28 --100
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From: Piglet <>
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
Subject: Re: Toward Closure on HTML
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Jim Davis "Tue, 05 Apr 94 20:50:20." <>

> > From Tue Apr  5 14:14:13 1994
> > Well, I gather that html-mode.el is the most popular way to compose
> > HTML today. RTF2HTML, FM2HTML, LaTeX2HTML and that ilk are closing,
> > though.
> > My problem with all of these is that folks don't use an SGML parser to
> > validate their documents.
> Dan, I don't intend this as a flame, but you need to face reality, by
> which I mean you need to look at what people ACTUALLY do, not what
> you WISH they did.  As you observe, people don't use an SGML parser
> to validate their documents.  There is no reason to think then that
> they will ever start.  That's reality. 

Hmm... Yes and No.  I, and most of the web maintainers at
Surrey, will use a client to check that links work, that we
remembered to put in </*> end delimiters (as they can be
seen by the effect they have on the document) and that
forms/imagemaps etc work.

Now, if clients were properly conformant (NB: I am not
using this as a technical term), and gave errors
and warnings (such as a missing </*> element, or something
unusual, like an <h2> after an <h1> but before an </h1>)
about the document it was parsing, then that would be
REALLY useful!

> > .. That people use text editors to generate it is an artifact.
> Same thing.  If this is what people do NOW, what is the evidence
> they will ever change?  Even if the SGMLs tools are easy to find,
> and even if they were available pre-compiled binary for all major
> platforms, I claim nobody will bother to get them unless they percieve
> a benefit.

Well, if their client - the same one they would use to view
other people's documents - generated parse errors, then I
reckon you'd find that most people DID use it, as they
would have used it to check other parts of the document
anyway.  Of course, the client should still try and display
as best it can the information represented in the document,
so that if another person's doc has errors, you don't have
to wait for them to fix them before you can see the

> To summarize: People will continue to write in HTML without
> the assistance of tools and validators.
> If you want people to start using format HTML, I think you need
> to show how this will provide real benefit TO THE AUTHOR, who
> is the one who must do the work to install and use the checker.

People already ARE checking their documents to some
extenet, but this is limited to what their client can do. 
Lets make sure the clients report parse errors/warnings. 

And to do that we need a decent standard ;o)

Alexsander Totic, Wed, 6 Apr 1994 00:48:04 --100 <>

> If necessary, we can add an extra field to the HTTP request, that 
> indicates how HTML savvy application is. This would also create a natural
> compatibility hierarchy.

Does this mean that we can then have conditional html that
only provides certain features if the client supports them?

I mean like the imagemap thing and the "click
<a href...>here</a> if you can't see the pretty picture to
click on" syndrome.  In my view, an alternate way of
communicating information if the desired method is
unavailable should ONLY be seen WHEN the desired method is

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