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Re: JTC1 (was Re: DSSSL Source Files )


"Daniel W. Connolly" <[log in to unmask]>


Fri, 26 Jan 1996 04:21:54 -0500





text/plain (71 lines)

In message <[log in to unmask]>, Roger Price writes:
>Terry Allen <[log in to unmask]> writes:
>> However, I agree with Erik Naggum that DTDs should not be made into
>> International Standards

Short answer: in general, I disagree. In the case of HTML 2.0,
I agree.

>Anything Erik Naggum says about DTDs should be treated with respect,
>but I suggest that HTML has long since ceased to be a mere `DTD',
>unfit for consideration. The WWW has now become the core of many
>subsidiary applications and as such merits international

On the one hand, I don't see why something that's good enough for the
IETF isn't good enough for ISO. On the other hand, the HTML 2.0
document is really out of date. We started working through the IETF
process back in May 1994, and didn't publish until Nov '95. A little
bit of technical progress was made, but mostly it was just getting
used to the process, and getting the document organization and nitty
gritty editing worked out.

In the mean time, the state of the art in HTML has changed
significantly. Tables an I18N are perhaps the most important parts,
but I wonder if folks would be satisfied with a standard that made
no mention of the other recent developments, such as text-flow
around images.

I certainly wouldn't want to begin a whole new standards process
with a document that describes HTML as of two years ago. Even if
it's a fast-track process, it will take some time.

>> DTDs need to evolve, and having to take them through ISO's *present*
>> process to make changes is unduly unwieldly.
>Agreed. The best solution is to produce a one page JTC1 text which
>says that "the technical provisions of this standard are defined by
>RFC 1866 + ..." This will also solve a number of other problems that
>come up when JTC1 and the IETF try to work together.

Hmmm... maybe that will address the issue of process and timeliness.

>I shall propose in a joint posting to both the HTML and JTC1/SC29/WG12
>mailing lists that RFC1866 + I18N + tables be the specification for
>ISO/IEC 13522-2. I have added some background to WG12, also known as
>`MHEG', at the end of this posting to bring you up to speed.

Ummm... what's the lifetime of this 13522-2 document? RFC1866 has a
lifetime of 6 months. It's due for a revision/update in May (Yikes!).
I don't think a revision is worth-while, but an update is
badly needed.

In practice, a very, very small minority of documents on the
web are conforming SGML documents, let alone conforming HTML 2.0
documents. So we're in this woeful situation where developer's
can't just code to the spec and expect it to work.

For web browsers, that may continue to be the case indefinitely.

But for editing software, and other situations where reliability
really matters, I think more strict agreement on what constitutes
and HTML document is very valuable -- essential, even.

But it will be a while before it stabilizes.


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