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Re: [xml-dev] Deja vu?

At 06:07 26-09-2001, Champion, Mike wrote:
>I stumbled upon this last night ... written in 1997, looking back at the
>early history of HTML:
>"HTML continued to grow, with  new, powerful, and exciting  tags. We got
><background>, <frame>, <font>, and of course, <blink>. Microsoft jumped into
>the game, and <marquee>, <iframe>, and <bgsound> started competing for room
>in the spec. And all this time, the W3C furiously debated something called
>HTML3, a sprawling document outlining all sorts of neat new features that
>nobody supported (remember <banner> and <fig>?). It was now 1995, and things
>were an absolute mess.
>Something needed to give. ... The HTML arm of the W3C changed course and
>started collecting and recording current practice in shipping browsers,
>rather than designing a future, unattainable version of the language. HTML3
>was dropped entirely, and work began on HTML3.2, which, ironically, was far
>less technologically advanced than its predecessor. But, more importantly,
>it was realistic in its goal to give content providers and browser
>developers a common, if dated, reference from which to work."

This isn't right.  It was the IETF that was working on HTML 3.0; it was too 
big a chunk to attack at once, so they spun off tables and 
internationalization, both of which successfully became RFCs, and some 
other things like math, which didn't.

But it was the long development time and being ignored by browser 
developers that tanked the IETF HTML WG.  HTML 2.0 was supposed to capture 
current practice, and then further, more innovative standards could be 
built on that.  However, HTML 2.0 took two years, and by the time it came 
out, tables, frames, godawful blinking crap, and other things had been 
added to current practice.  For better or worse, the W3C was established as 
a way to get buy-in from the browser developers by giving them a sort of 
inside track on the standardization process, as opposed to the rank 
democracy of the IETF.

Others may have more complete memories than I; I joined the HTML WG in late 
'94 and was with it until the end.

Christopher R. Maden, Principal Consultant, HMM Consulting Int'l, Inc.
DTDs/schemas - conversion - ebooks - publishing - Web - B2B - training
<URL: http://www.hmmci.com/ > <URL: http://crism.maden.org/consulting/ >
PGP Fingerprint: BBA6 4085 DED0 E176 D6D4  5DFC AC52 F825 AFEC 58DA