Re: Various HTML questions

Jon P. Knight (
Tue, 3 May 1994 14:09:31 +0100 (BST)

On Tue, 3 May 1994 wrote:
> <? rant>
> I also feel that the world has moved on a ways since CERN started the WWW
> project. All this insistence on "we have absolutely no way of knowing what a
> renderer will do with this" reminds me of the GKS specification. When it was
> first being written, graphics output devices were so massively variable in
> capabilities - like, some could only erase the whole screen, not parts of it -
> that saying nothing about presentation was the only way. By the time the spec
> came to be published, things has settled down. Raster graphics were standard and
> widely available, as was colour.
> We can now assume at least a bitmapped screen, can we not? And a PostScript
> printer or some approximation thereto? The major platforms - Unix with X, PCs
> with Windows and Macs with the Mac interface - and also the minor ones (OpenVMS
> with X, Atari ST and Amiga) all provide this. It has become standard. Bending
> over backwards to support a 40 column caps-only text terminal seems a lot of
> hassle for little gain. This is the 90s, not the 70s, or didn't we learn
> anything?
> <? /rant>

Hmm, tell that to all the people with text only terminals in their offices
who have to use lynx or WWW. And there are a fair few thousand of those.
Also those bitmapped screens vary wildly in their capabilities; my little
Mac Classic has a 1 bit deep bitmapped display whereas the Sun I'm typing
this on has 24 bit colour (and is a damn sight bigger to boot).

The one thing we learnt (hopefully) from the 70's was to target the core
of a protocol to the widest user base possible. If TCP/IP only ran on the
equivalent of modern PCs and workstations, I wonder whether it would have
taken off so much?


Jon Knight, Research Student in High Performance Networking and Distributed
Systems in the Department of _Computer_Studies_ at Loughborough University.
* Its not how big your share is, its how much you share that's important. *