HTML 3.2

Subject: HTML 3.2
From: Yvonne DeGraw <yvonne -at- SILCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 7 Jul 1996 22:52:12 -0700

I'm just catching up with list traffic (before leaving on
vacation!), but I wanted to correct some misinformation
I noticed on the list:

In response to a comment about HTML 3.0 in the HTML vs.
Acrobat debate, David Blyth <dblyth -at- QUALCOMM -dot- COM> said:

>You mean HTML 3.2, I think. HTML 3.0 is defunct. And none of the HTML 3.2
>features are supported outside of experimental browsers.

Yes, HTML 3.0 is defunct. However, HTML 3.2 is basically a
subset of the HTML syntax that Netscape and Microsoft currently
support. A quote from :

"HTML 3.2 is W3C's new specification for HTML, developed
together with vendors including IBM, Microsoft, Netscape
Communications Corporation, Novell, SoftQuad, Spyglass,
and Sun Microsystems."

HTML 3.2 adds formal definitions for tables (a fairly limited
subset of current use), font sizes and colors, client-side
image maps, applets (for Java support), text flow around images,
and superscripts and subscripts.

In fact, features supported by "experimental" browsers did not
make it into HTML 3.2.

>The major downside of HTML 3.2 is that it is not downwardly (sidewaysly?)
>compatible with N-HTML or HTML 2.0. That is, HTML 3.2 _requires_ 3.2
>developers to insert a line that reads (basically) "I am only going to
>use HTML 3.2 for this file".

If you read,
you will see that the <!DOCTYPE> declaration, which I assume you
are talking about, is *not* required. It has always been an
optional part of HTML and it not new. It's a reflection of HTML's
SGML heritage.

The <!DOCTYPE> tag is almost always ignored by browsers. Browsers
simply interpret the tags and attributes they understand and
ignore the rest. Some authoring tools and search robots examine
the <!DOCTYPE> declaration. I don't see a problem here.

>Thus, the HTML 3.2 notes explicitely state that it's up to the developers
>(Netscape and Microsoft) to build a browser that works with both HTML 3.2
>_and_ their own HTML dialects. That's a heck of a lot of work. How much
>return will they get?

Netscape already does support it. They had a lot of control
over the development of the spec. So, there's no work involved
for them.

Yvonne DeGraw, Technical Services o Web Authoring
yvonne -at- silcom -dot- com o Technical Writing o Database Design and Publishing
Tel: 805/683-5784 o User-Interface Design
~~~~~~~~~~ My latest project: ~~~~~~~~~~
The interactive Web authoring tutorial for AOLpress. Download AOLpress
at, install, run, and choose Help-->Tutorial.

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