Re: minimal HTML

Bert Bos (
Sat, 8 Jan 1994 00:01:25 +0100 (MET)

|propose that the HTML below is probably the minimal HTML file (assuming
|mailto: is still okay ;-). HTML Guide writers, people writing translators
|from latex, rtf, etc. to HTML, etc. might want to use this. Comments,
|additions, tomatoes?
|<LINK REV="MADE" HREF="mailto:username@host.domain">

I'm not sure... On the one hand it might simplify writing parsers for
HTML if no tags are omitted. On the other hand these tags are not
really meant for people to use. They are hooks for an SGML parser or
(in the jargon of grammar writers) "nonterminals" that do not show up
in the final surface structure.

When I write HTML, I write not HTML, but something that I find easier
to use. The real HTML is generated by an SGML parser. Whether or not I
want <!DOCTYPE>, <BODY>, or <HEAD> to be generated is simply a matter
of instructing the parser. (My "authoring system" is a thrown together
from Makefiles, Emacs modes, etc, but a special SGML or HTML editor
would have at least the same capabilities.)

A comparable situation would have been the result of a set of new tags
that I once suggested. Consider that an HTML doc be split into
<SECT1>s, <SECT2>s, etc., corresponding to <H1>, <H2>, etc. This would
allow an anchor to be attached to a whole section of the text, instead
of to a header. The <SECTn> tag would be implied by the occurrence of
<Hn>, in the same manner as <BODY>. (The suggestion was turned down,
because people wanted to be able to put <Hn> tags inside lists and
other places where they don't belong.)

The inclusion of the <LINK... tag is a different matter. it is
certainly something that I would urge people to add. Somebody must be
responsible for the contents of a document and that somebody should
provide his address. A Reply command like in E-mail or Usenet is one
of the first things I'm going to add when I write my browser. (Lynx
has it!)


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