Re: INS, DEL and Collaborative Document Design

Michael J Hannah (
Tue, 12 Dec 1995 13:36:14 +0700

++ Date: Tue, 12 Dec 95 20:16:36 +0100
++ From: Olle Jarnefors <>
++ Ian Graham <> wrote in message
++ <>:
++ > I am planning a project to look at collaborative HTML document
++ > development via the Web. I am thinking of using the proposed
++ > HTML 3 elements INS and DEL to delineate the changes associated
++ > with different versions or a document, with appropriate
++ > attributes to reflect authorship, version numbers and so on.
++ > Has anyone looked at integrating this type of functionality
++ > into HTML or other markup languages?
++ I haven't done that, but I have experimented with different ways
++ of augmenting _plain text_ for similar purposes. The details
++ are unimportant, but the _functionality_ I found useful to
++ support may be of interest and could be provided by means of
++ HTML or SGML.

The discussion seems to imply a need for new HTML markup to accomodate
this functionality. I believe that the necessary new functionality is
being proposed for HTML (but some preprocessor for producing the
appropriate HTML may be also be needed?). The two existing proposals
that I believe provide the required HTML tools involve the attribute
CLASS and the element FN.

I believe that the CLASS attribute proposed as part of the style sheet
discussion, especially the ability to collect/specify multiple classes,
can provide the identification of change submissions and/or
contributor. CLASS can also be used to identify the types of changes
mentioned (new, deleted, moved) and an appropriate style sheet can
render them in a manner in which each can be distinguished.
e.g. <SPAN CLASS="fred added">new text from Fred</SPAN>

The discussion about "meta-text" (e.g. comments/justification?) might
be handled with the proposed footnote <FN> element. Footnotes, coupled
with identification of various CLASSes of footnotes (comment, or
justification, or alternative text), might provide this functionality.

At least I can see a way to do this with these tools. Does this seem
to be adequate for the functionality you have explored?