Re: Netscape & New HTML

Sat, 22 Oct 1994 11:54:01 -0400 (EDT)


Before I begin, a brief introduction is in order. I come to computers and
HTML from a non-technical background (*definitively* non-tech: less than a
year ago I didn't know how to turn a PC on). I am an artist, who, like a
lot of other people, wandered on to the Web one day and got stuck. I have
authored several HTML documents since then, and will soon be making *many*
more: I have been asked to take over the WWW project for a local liberal
arts college, and I am now the acting managing editor for the online
services (WWW) of an important marketing company.
I have no experience with many of the paradigms discussed on this list, like
LaTex, Postscript, etc, and am only vaguely familiar with the relationship
between HTML and SGML.
In short, I am one of the people who will, by voting with our feet, so to
speak, determine the eventual direction of HTML. There are *lots* of
people like me - non 'experts', but people who are concerned with the long
term usability of the HTML they write.
I'm in a quandary now. I looked into Netscape immediately on release, and saw
the increased possibilities of Netscape HTML right away, but I was troubled
by seemed to me to be the first step towards the balkanization of WWW. I
have followed this list for some months, and while I concede that it hasn't
been exactly *exciting*, I have learned a lot from your discussions. I think
I understand the importance of semantic markup, and there seems to be a
consensus on this list that that is the best way to approach HTML, but
really, hasn't the pre-emptive strike by Netscape effectively ended this
argument? They seem already to have captured the browser 'market', as I
suspected they would when I first saw Netscape Mosaic, and it seems to me
that the dominant browser can, more or less, set their own standards.
I have two style guides that need to be written soon, and dozens of pages
that I have to start mapping out within weeks, and I am interested in the
opinions of those on this list who know a lot more than I do (which is
most of you). What would you do? Would you include the Netscape additions
as acceptable HTML in a style guide - would you write your own pages to
those specs?

Brian wrote:
>Does anyone have a URL to a really good resource on the net that explains
no>in non technical terms why semantic markup is a good thing? The best I
>can say right now is that it expresses ideas at a much higher level than
>page layout languages do. And because it's at that higher level, you can
>do a lot more with it, it's more reusable, it's more portable, it can be
>transmogrified into something completely different yet still convey its
>ideas. In an information space where the amount of information present is
>just overwhelming, as the internet has become (and it will only get
>worse), being able to deal with and navigate among documents semantically
>is essential
>I dunno, maybe I'm alone in this, in which case I'll shut up and let HTML
>become whatever people want it to become, and consider it opportunity
> > Brian

It seems to me that trying to extend this discussion to a forum that would reachmore of the people who are writing most of the HTML would be a good idea, and
soon. I have no way to back this up, but I think the bulk of the HTML code
out there is being written by people who don't even know this list exists.


Nathan Wagoner