Re: SGML

Subject: Re: SGML
From: Chet Ensign <Chet_Ensign%LDS -at- NOTES -dot- WORLDCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 1996 10:52:23 LCL

Timothy Schablin asked:

> What are the advantages of SGML over HTML on the WWW? (If any)

Tim, I don't think that SGML has any advantage at all **on** the Web. HTML is
an efficient delivery markup for getting info over the Web fast. The huge
advantage that SGML has is **behind** the Web. Two reasons:

1) HTML is changing fast. If we store our stuff in HTML today, tomorrow it is
going to be out-of-date. Worse, if we store in HTML, a year from now our sites
will be a mess of different kinds of HTML coding schemes and styles.
Maintaining that is not my idea of fun.

2) The browsers wars are going to be a repeat of the word processor wars.
Netscape, Microsoft and the others to follow will keep upping the ante by
extending the markup language with their special codes. In some cases these
will conflict. In all cases, adopting them will mean that people not using the
browser you coded for don't see the site you intended it to be -- and may not
be able to make any sense out of it at all.

The solution I see is that we need to store **our** data in **our** SGML,
inspect the incoming HTTP packet to identify the browser, and then generate
tailored HTML on the fly. I only know of one product on the market today that
supports that -- DynaWeb from Electronic Book Technologies -- but it is a ripe
market opportunity.


> Does anyone know anything about VRML?

Not much -- I think it stands for "Virtual Reality Modeling Language" (as
opposed to 'Markup' language). It is a language for creating 3 dimensional
spaces that can readers can interact with.

Best,

/chet


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