Re: hyperRTF?

Chris Lilley, Computer Graphics Unit (
Fri, 1 Jul 1994 12:39:04 +0200

In message <>,

> Ye gods, at what point did I suggest replacing HTML in all its various
> incarnations?

You appeared to be suggesting that anyone who wanted control over presentation
stop using HTML and start using a proposed hacked RTF instead. If that was not
your intention, I may have misread you or your posting may have been ambiguous.

> the degree of control over presentation that
> professional publishers want
> [...]

>I'm only suggesting RTF for the publishing folks [...]

You clearly envisage a very small set of Web authors needing these features,
which was not apparent to me from your earlier postings.

On the other hand, looking at the hoops people have put themselves through to
try and use HTML for graphic page design, it is apparent to me that a
significant proportion of Web authors want control over layout and appearance.

> Bogus argument alert :) You might as well have said when people were
> suggesting using HTML ``bah, how many robots are there that will
> delive an index of all the top level titles of HTML documents
> available on the web''

Anachronistic comparison alert ;-)

Yes, when there was _no_ Web, that would have been true. Point is that there is
already a Web. There are already WWW Worm, JumpStation et al. It is one thing to
suggest alternatives when everything is up in the air and starting out, another
to suggest changes midstream, when major bits of Web technology are already
widely deployed and used.

> I'd never suggest trashing the work that has
> already been done

You appeared to be doing that. I accept that this was not your intention.

> --- maintaining archaic systems is the founding
> principle of most of the communications on the Internet after all :).


> Please identify the groups and their requirements you mention here

This is the root of the misunderstanding here - you imaging a very small
proportion of Web users, and I imagine a very large proportion. The problem was
an inadequately specified target market ;-)

To see the population I am referring to, look at any web pages which use HTML to
control layout rather than logical structure. Any page that uses inline images
for things other than for Figures - for icons, logos, banner headlines, bullet
points and other layout items. Any page that uses different Hn to achieve
different point sizes. Any page that uses UL without any LI, for indenting. Any
page that uses HR. And so on.

All these people are trying to do some form of page layout, graphic design, call
it what you will. I believe it was Marc Andreessen who said (but it was over a
year ago, so I could be wrong) that we should learn from what the users out
there are doing, what facilities they seem to be requiring, rather than just
taking the moral high ground and saying, you shouldn't want to do that.

It appeared to me that Nat was effectively doing that, by sidelining these
people from a widely deployed, open format off onto a different, as yet not
widely deployed, proprietary format. However it turns out that Nat was
envisaging a very small and specialised group needing control of presentation.

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