Re: Industry Standard's Net 21

Robert S. Thau (
Fri, 25 Jun 1999 18:04:46 -0400 (EDT)

Roy T. Fielding writes:
> >(Also, I suspect his attitude was somewhat colored by a justifiable
> >distaste for the goings-on in the IETF HTML working group, which had
> >become dominated by SGML advocates who didn't seem to understand or
> >care about the needs of the HTML installed base --- a divergence which
> That's b.s. Netscape had no involvement with the HTML WG, not even
> enough to obtain a distaste.

I didn't have much involvment with HTML-WG either, but I didn't need
to in order to obtain a strong distaste for it.

And as to your claim that they weren't involved at all, I *think*
that's not correct. The HTML-WG archives appear to be off-line, so I
can't check my memories, but I do recall that Lou Montulli was at
least intermittently active on the mailing list. Also, tables were
implemented directly off then-current WG draft specs. (Yes, in an
ideal world, they wouldn't have been using drafts, but they weren't
*in* an ideal world, and nothing better was available).

Once again, I am *not* saying that Netscape did good, clean work; I
think they did a lousy job of specifying this stuff. But unlike some
people here, I don't think the blame is solely theirs...

> Netscapisms came about because the
> developers just assumed HTML+ was dead, rather than actually asking the
> author (Dave Raggett), and the Netscape developers believed they "created"
> the Web and therefore were in the best position to invent new HTML.
> SGML folks dominated the WG discussion because Spyglass was the only
> browser folk who bothered to show up. Netscape has no one but themselves
> to blame for that fiasco.

If the WG had, at some point, reached consensus on the features in
Dave's HTML+ spec, I'd understand the relevance of this. But I don't
believe they ever did (let alone early enough for it to be materially
relevant here).