Interest in HTML Conformance?

David Bianco (
Mon, 11 Apr 1994 19:59:13 GMT

Daniel W. Connolly writes:
> I'm curious about the level of interest in publishing HTML standards
> and promoting widespread agreement about the meaning of "HTML support"
> in, for example, product literature.
[suggestions for publishing standards: rfcs and ISO WGs]
> I'm interested in establishing a formal definition of HTML -- perhaps
> a few variants including "Minimal HTML Support" (no forms, no nested
> lists, conforming SGML), "Mosaic-2.x Support" (where 2.x is some
> future release of Mosaic which coincides with publication of a DTD
> that it supports).
> Perhaps HTML+ could be incorporated as a level of support.
> I'm willing to maintain a test suite that defines the variants
> of conformance.
> But I discovered some time ago that writing user documentation is
> beyond my scope of expertise. And we certainly need human-readable
> descriptions of HTML to go along with the machine readable DTD and
> test suite.
> I have talked some with a writer from NCSA who might be able to help,
> but it didn't sound like he had a lot of time to contribute.

I could probably help out some there. I'm not an extremely awesome
writer, but I can generally get my point across without too much
difficulty. 8-)

> Are most folks (including the NCSA Mosaic licensees) content to define
> HTML as "whatever the latest release of Mosaic supports", or are we
> interested in published specifications? And do we have resources to
> contribute toward that end?

With all due respect to the NCSA folks, I think it might not be such a
great idea to define HTML as "whatever ... Mosaic supports." The WWW
is larger than any one tool can hope to encompass. Ideally, I'd like to see
a published spec, to which the various clients could claim compliance.
I have no problem, per se, with a multi-tiered approach (ie. "Minimal
HTML" and other levels of conformance), but I'd want to be careful not
to introduce too much complexity there. I read somewhere once that
HTML was intended to be simple. 8-)