Re: Concerns about HTML+ complexity

Steve Waterbury (
Thu, 16 Jun 1994 12:27:01 +0500

Ken Fox wrote:

> The point I was trying to make is that as software gets more and more
> difficult to build (i.e. it's complexity increases) fewer and fewer people
> are willing to expend the effort required to build it....
[... examples of free s/w and levels of complexity ...]
> If I apply this reasoning to HTML+, then there must be some point at which a
> browser becomes so complex that very few people are willing (or able?) to
> implement one. Obviously we are not yet at that point with HTML. (Looking
> at the popularity of Mosaic vs. other browsers though, it seems that HTML is
> already hard enough to implement that browsers are not casual undertakings.)

Several developments will help to manage the increasing complexity for
Web browser and even viewer developers, including definition of a Common
Client Interface and ways of "modularizing" the HTML spec. There will
certainly always be a place for powerful, commercially-developed browsers
& viewers, but the situation seems comparable to that for X Window
Managers, of which there are several very good free ones. The WWW
technologies are, after all, _OPEN_ (as opposed to most commercial desktop
publishing and/or hypermedia environments).

> We could probably say that the goal of the current HTML+ specification is to
> provide desktop-publishing-like content and presentation to HTML....

I perceive it as more like "to provide a baseline of content and
presentation capability to HTML and the capability for browsers to
interact with sophisticated accessories for more powerful presentation

> ... Web browsers
> will start to look an awful lot like desktop-publishing applications.

I think it's rather that Web browsers + their "accessory aplets" will ....

> How many freely available desktop publishing tools do you know? Who dominates
> the desktop-publishing market? How easy is it to make a desktop-publishing
> application? Who controls the desktop-publishing document format standard?

That last question is pretty interesting ... I would say the answer is
changing! The applications you are talking about here are analogous to HTML
_editors_, not _browsers_. I agree that the realm of HTML _editors_
will be dominated by commercial products. Let's be real: HoTMetaL is
really a "loss-leader" for its commercial version -- and I for one
think that's just dandy, thanks! Even so, I am sure there will
always be the emacs extensions, etc. ....

Steve Waterbury

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