Some thorns for the presentation vs. structure debate

Brandon Plewe (
Thu, 27 Oct 1994 18:05:58 +0100

I'm not going to espouse any answers to the debate yet, but I'd thought I'd
throw in a couple wrenches. As we discuss these things, remember the following:

1. Not everyone has a nice GUI for viewing your pretty documents. Most academic
and dial-up service users still (and for the near future) must use
text-terminal-based browsers and viewers. The solution cannot dump
them just yet.

2. Font/Layout control is just one element of this debate. The solution we
come up with must be scaleable to handle other display extensions that
will hit us in the _very_ near future:
- Vector Graphics
- Interactive, choreographed, Multimedia (a la CD-ROM stuff)
- Virtual Reality

3. Most of the non-web document producers out there don't know or care about the
structure of their documents, as much as some of us would like to deny
it. To implement any structure-based system, there will have to be
some heavy education/evangelizing, and tools that make it _very_ simple
to convert documents and glean structure from the sloppy documents that
people make. The benefits of structure-encoding must be made very

One more thing. This discussion should really be moved to www-html. I
subscribe to both, but it's nice to have things in their proper places.

Brandon Plewe