Re: Nonstandard HTML

Subject: Re: Nonstandard HTML
From: David Blyth <dblyth -at- QUALCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 1996 18:04:19 -0700

Hi all;

Chet says...

>My biggest problem with Acrobat-style solutions is that they are fixed page
>images. And one of the really powerful possibilities that I'm starting to play
>around with is dynamically composed content. HTML generated on the fly out of a
>database of possible contents and a profile of the user. Fixed binary images of
>pages can never deliver that kind of power.

I couldn't agree more - except I view this (Intranet at QUALCOMM) as a reality,
not as a possibility. The application is the document.

>Netscape may look like the market leader right now, but I think we as info
>owners, need to look for ways to protect our investment in our intellectual
>capital by avoiding storing (**not** delivering) our information in **any**
>vendor controlled markup.

I agree that this is a long-term problem. In the short-term, Netscape really
is the leader - they don't just look like it. So far, other browsers
(including MS) may add their own HTML code - but give lip service to Netscape's
dialect of HTML (N-HTML 1.1 or 2.0).

>> A simple calculation here (feel free to substitute accurate numbers):
>>give Netscape 90% of the browser market

>The percentage I've seen is more like 70%

It depends in part on whether you measure browsers owned (maybe 70%),
browsers actually used (78%), or hits on Web sites (maybe 90%).

And in related news, Netscape announced yesterday a profit for the 1st
quarter of the year. They sold more products than expected...

>but that's not as significant in my mind as the battle that's shaping up.
>>Microsoft's Explorer is based on the commerical version of Mosaic and as
>you all know is now shipping on every new PC that comes with Windows '95.

I agree it is a battle. But the fact that Explorer comes with Win95
is probably a handicap, not an advantage. That is, Explorer comes _only_
with Win95. Not with other OS. And while Win95 was Big, it has not been
as Big as MS wanted.

There are a _heck_ of a lot of Mac and UNIX users out there, to say nothing
of Win 3.1. And they don't have Explorer.

Arlen adds...

>To me, the cloud of uncertainty hovering over HTML makes .PDF a more
>attractive and more viable option than it might otherwise be. I *know*
>what my .PDF document will look like on someone else's system, and I
>know that without having to fire up 12 different programs to check it out.

What cloud? People are moving onto the Web fired up like heck. I agree
that this may not be a good thing, but that's not stopping the Rush.
They're doing it anyway.

I also agree that there's an HTML war going on - but there's not a thing
we can do about it, except build well-designed Web sites.

I'll even agree that PDF is really A Good Thing that's quite useful in
all sorts of situations. But alas, PDF is not used much on the Web.

A) As Chet points out, you can't do development work with PDF. You
can with HTML.

B) People are choosing not to _read_ PDF much either via the Web, even
when they can (and I don't know why not, except PDF is viewed as slow).

My own reaction to the flood onto the Web (and to HTML) is to pull my
fingers out of the dike. This levee is lost. It's time to sandbag
somewhere else.

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