Re: HyTime compatibility (was Re: HTML spec)

Chris Adie (
Mon, 21 Jun 93 14:55:52 WET DST

> I am exploring what it means to make HTML+ HyTime compatible. Elliot
> Kimber (IBM) is helping me in this regard. It definitely looks an
> important issue for the long term viability of HTML.

I have the HyTime standard in front of me, and on first reading it is
impressive in terms of what it tries to cover. Much of it is
impenetrable, but I hope another pass through it will clarify my
understanding a bit.

But a word of caution. In at least two different places I have read
that HyTime was designed for the INTERCHANGE of hypermedia data, and
that it is not necessarily a good choice for an efficient run-time
hypermedia format. Of course, it may well be that the overhead
associated with HyTime is small compared with the network overhead for
multimedia data transfer - but we should be aware of the problem.

Making WWW HyTime-compatible does not bring any immediate benefits.
Maybe it would make the job of client developers easier if there was a
public-domain HyTime engine available - but until there is, it is
difficult to argue for.

Despite the above, I am keen that WWW should move in this direction.
HyTime appears to provide a good deal of flexibility. You could simply
view it as a collection of useful ideas with which to design hypermedia
applications - and nothing is lost by building in HyTime compatability.

Chris Adie Phone: +44 31 650 3363
Edinburgh University Computing Service Fax: +44 31 662 4809
University Library, George Square Email:
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ, United Kingdom