Mozquito Bridges Future HTML Gap

Sally Khudairi (
Mon, 29 Nov 1999 22:04:25 -0500

Actual product launch is tomorrow. Mozquito lands top headline at Internet
World News Daily


Mozquito Bridges Future HTML Gap
By Nate Zelnick

When browser standards diverged, it was inevitable that the pace of change
in Internet technology would come to a screeching halt. Even as the World
Wide Web Coalition (W3C) has made valiant efforts to correct the
incompatibilities in browsers, the growth of the Web has actually widened
the gap as end users lag the state-of-the-art in browsers and browser makers
lag the state of the standards they endorse in committee.

Result? Expensive gridlock that perpetuates the same broken, labor-intensive
approaches to site design the industry has been stuck with for years.

On Tuesday Stack Overflow, a Munich-based software company that has been
working closely with the W3C, will unveil a bridge between HTML and XHTML,
the eXtensible Markup Language (XML)-based successor. Called Mozquito, the
architecture allows developers to build on the modular, client-independent
approach promised by XHTML while being able to serve all fourth-generation
level browsers. XHTML takes the problematic portions of HTML -- basically
all of the fancier "chrome" services like form elements and tables -- and
delegates them to XML vocabularies. This allows greater flexibility for
different kinds of devices, while also making more features possible.

Mozquito works by inserting a small JavaScript-based application between the
HTML server and the HTML rendering engine in the browser. The server
processes XHTML modules on the fly, transforming them into a combination of
script and structured data that can be understood by existing browsers. The
first application of this is a smarter forms language that conforms to the
XHTML proposed recommendation.

The Forms Markup Language (FML) adds some nifty features that should be
enticing to developers, including persistent data for multi-page forms (so
one mistake doesn't render the whole form invalid, forcing re-entry of scads
of data), offline form-completion, and smart forms that include processing
logic. Stack Overflow is expected to submit FML to the W3C when it's