Take a Stand and Understand the Standard - HTML with Style | 7 | WebReference

Take a Stand and Understand the Standard - HTML with Style | 7


Take a Stand and Understand the Standard

What has this got to do with the WaSP petition again?

You might think that I've veered from my subject a bit, but I haven't. The point I've made already is that it's a bad idea to use and develop HTML as a platform for Web-based applications. The question is, what do we do instead?

I think it's important that the W3C itself, as well as individual software vendors such as Microsoft, Netscape and Sun, and also the Web community as embodied in organizations such as the Web Standards Project, realize that the Web desperately needs an open, standardized, cross-platform way of developing and deploying interactive applications. I believe Java is the primary candidate to fill in this gap, but unless Sun relinquishes its considerable hold on the language and allows it to be developed and integrated openly, and unless browser vendors commit to support it in a major way, it's not going very far. Competitors, and especially Microsoft, still fear Java because they see it as a Sun product, not a Sun technology, and are reluctant to dive into it without making sure they don't meddle with it a bit.

If a platform for Web-based applications is developed, and is as open and easy to use to this end as HTML is for creating documents, people will stop trying to hack HTML to give it interactivity and use the other method instead. If HTML is confined to its original purpose of creating documents for the Web, implementing the standards and using it properly will be trivial. And all of this energy and frustration can be channeled so that it works to solve the problem that created it: that people want interactivity on the Web.

Yes, the WaSP is fighting the Good Fight, and yes, sign the petition. And everyone, the WaSP, the W3C, Netscape, Sun, and, oh OK I'll say it, Microsoft too (though they're taking their time) are doing a pretty good job working towards implementing standards. [After a short break author picks himself off the floor, waits for the remaining fits of involuntary laughter to stop and continues typing] OK scratch that, Microsoft is doing nothing, so sign the petition in case they start doing something.

But I think this industry needs to realize that the pressure driving all of this innovation, and the competition and the whole implementation fiasco is coming from people's desire for the Web to be the centerpoint of their computing, and that means interactivity; and that means not using HTML. Leave HTML well alone; it's a markup language for hypertext documents, and it's a good language for that, and that alone. It's got a good style sheet language to go with it, and you can make your documents dance and jiggle with scripting, but that's as far as it goes.


The purpose of this article is to lift some of the focus off developing HTML, CSS, JavaScript and the rest to the point of death and beyond. I believe that the industry has lost its sense of focus, and is hanging on to old reasons and old preconceptions when it should be thinking of what it wants to do next. And I also want to point out that openness and freedom of expression are what made the Web what it is today, and these principles should be the first ones behind any new Web technology, because, as so many previous examples have shown us, no technology can make it in the Web if it does not hold those principles dear.

As has been said before, this is an opinion piece, and these are my opinions, and a lot of people will probably disagree with me. If you have anything to say on this matter, do not hesitate to e-mail me at stephanos@webreference.com with your thoughts and I will be happy to talk about it.

Once again, You can find the petition on the WaSP's Web site. If you're interested in Java, you can start off from Sun Microsystems' Java site. Information on ISO HTML can be found on Robin Cover's ISO-HTML page (the rest of his SGML/XML Web page is also a treasure chest of links and information).


URL: http://www.webreference.com/html/watch/standards/6.html

Produced by Stephanos Piperoglou
Created: August 25, 1999
Revised: August 26, 2089