Re: Nonstandard HTML

Subject: Re: Nonstandard HTML
From: David Blyth <dblyth -at- QUALCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 19 Apr 1996 14:44:31 -0700

>HTML 2.0 is a well-accepted, well-supported standard: if
>you code to this standard, you won't disappoint many (if
>any) people.

If the standard isn't being used, then maybe it isn't the
standard The W3 reminds me of L'Academie Francais. They
define the formal French (or HTML) language - and are summarily
ignored by native French (or HTML) speakers.

And, BTW, 90% of the market (your numbers) is "many people".

>Your web page won't look as snazzy as the various nonstandard
>HTML implementations, but isn't the content more important
>than the appearance?

The larger issue is "to what extent is formatting necessary
to technical communication"? Do we communicate better when
we have more formatting power?

If yes, then we need to be in favor of higher formatting tools
past HTML 3.0 up to and including Adobe Acrobat. If no, then
why not do all of our technical communication via e-mail? If
there's a scale, then what is that scale and where does it end?

Personnally, I think there's a scale. And looking at the
current situation on that scale, there is a _huge_ call on the Web
for tools beyond HTML 3.0. Thus and IMHO, the current concensus
is that HTML 2.0 does not yet provide enough formatting power for
good Web communication (technical or otherwise).

>HTML 3.X and various extensions are all very well, because
>they _can_ lead us to more effective design, but what about
>the portion of the audience that can't benefit from these
>extensions?

I agree. Fortunately, most (but not all) Web browsers are
downwardly compatible. If the HTML tag is not recognized,
it is usually ignored with no change in formatting. This
increases the percentage of market reached past 90%.

Unfortunately, not all browers even recognize HTML 2.0. Thus,
the only ways we can reach 100% are to:

o Use only ascii (no HTML at all)
o Design multiple Web sites, one per group

If your company has the time and/or resources, this may be the
way to go. If you're the only developer, then at some point in
time you've probably got to say "I've reached 90%+ of the market.
And I can't do more."

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