[rfc-i] Potential RFC format approach: HTML

Joe Touch touch at isi.edu
Sat Mar 24 06:03:21 PDT 2012


+1

On Mar 24, 2012, at 6:09 AM, Dave Crocker <dhc at dcrocker.net> wrote:

> 
> 
> On 3/24/2012 9:33 AM, Julian Reschke wrote:
>>> - Subset HTML. The subset would be decided upon based on current wide
>>> support, expectation that it will continue to work, repeatability, stability
>>> of output, etc. However, as long as old-ish browsers can render the output,
>>> they might not need to get the full experience.
>> 
>> +1 in general. The requirement "expectation that it will continue to work" isn't
>> really helping, because in practice, anything that is widely used today isn't
>> going to go away.
> 
> Oh boy.
> 
> In spite of the fact that you are an experienced and prudent guy, let me suggest your above assertion is not terribly prudent.
> 
> The strength of the ASCII base has been its minimal processing requirements and its excellent, long-term stability.
> 
> HTML isn't even close to trivial, by that metric.  Worse, as soon as you say "subset" you mandate specialized software.
> 
> "HTML" in the open Internet is spectacularly variable.  It works because HTML engines know to process quite a bit of that variation.  The remainder doesn't get processed properly.
> 
> This establishes an extremely unstable processing base, no matter how widely usable it is at any given moment, such as "today".
> 
> In an environment like that, any assurances of future support -- say 30 or 50 years from now, nevermind 100 -- is problematic.
> 
> 
>> I believe what's as important is to profile the document structure, define
>> default CSS (we want some uniformity, right?), and recommend certain ways to use
> 
> css.  Excellent.  A parallel item to support and hope is compatible decades from now, if the item can be found.
> 
> 
>>> - Define a very strict structure, using a microformat/semantic style, that
>>> makes it easy to pull out information semantically with a little bit of
>>> jQuery in post-processing tools. Make a choice about XML-style
>>> well-formedness, which is probably not needed.
>> 
>> +-0; it's possible to embed all metadata in the HTML, but that makes us depend
>> on conventions (microformats) or specs that are currently a bit in flux (RDFa vs
> 
> flux.  exactly the right word.
> 
> For the current exercise, the requirement to attain long-term viability that is on a par with what was achieved with the original ASCII base, is simplicity and stability.
> 
> It's not enough to be clever with something that can "be made to work".  It might or might not work tomorrow.  Anyone thinking otherwise needs to produce a comparable historical basis for their belief.
> 
> 
> d/
> -- 
> 
>  Dave Crocker
>  Brandenburg InternetWorking
>  bbiw.net
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