RE: Industry Standard's Net 21

Gavin Thomas Nicol (
Wed, 30 Jun 1999 03:57:05 -0400

> My recollections of HTML-WG and related discussions are of arrogance,
> disdain, and NIH syndrome on all sides.

True enough.

> You mention CSS below, for instance, as something praiseworthy,
> yet because it came out of the WWW community, and wasn't DSSSL,
> there was some measure of open hostility towards it.

Well, I think there's a lot more to it than that. I have argued
against CSS as well, for many of the same reasons Glenn was
againsit it. CSS has matured a lot.

> But there's a deeper problem here. You say "generic markup is
> *necessary*", with emphasis. But it's not universally necessary ---
> the web still mostly gets along without it. Many people building
> complicated web sites are jumping through unnecessary hoops because of
> that (the most common being translation from application-specific
> markup which their servers store internally), but quite a few web
> authors, with small sites or simple needs, aren't; generic markup, in
> any form, is simply not necessary *for them*. Stylesheets and
> purpose-built DTDs are overkill for someone who just wants to throw up
> a few simple pages. Yet those authors do have a legitimate desire to
> have some control over presentation. And it was their needs that
> Netscape was trying to respond to.
> The system that resulted, of course, did not suit the needs of large
> publishers.

Again, there was a point in time where, from at least my perspective,
HTML, CSS etc. were seen as *all* that was needed. The "SGML camp"
all understood that sooner or later, something like XML would be needed.
The point there is that with generic markup, HTML is *just* a DTD...
one of many. DTD's can be standardised (and it's an interesting footnote
to history to not that HTML looks much like the early DTD used at cern
and that in turn looks like some of the early GML stuff), and would
almost certainly been. With XML right now, one of the large activities
going on is standardising DTD's/schemas.... a prime example.

I got the impression that a lot of "web folk" didn't want to listen...
kind of a French revolution mentality.