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The Holmes Page THE SOAP BOX 1997/05/07



1997/05/07: The HTML Battle   When I first saw HTML documents, I was struck by the fact that the HTML code appeared to be a lame, beginner's version of Ventura Publisher files. 
That made some sense to me because they were both based on the same underlying language: SGML, or Standard Generalized Markup Language. But Ventura was more mature. 
Ventura Publisher allows you to do all of the things that are only now becoming possible with HTML. As is so often the case, the "new" features in HTML are implemented differently from Ventura. How many times are we going to reinvent the wheel? 
The custodians of Ventura (currently Corel) really missed an opportunity. They should have presented Ventura Publisher to the HTML committee for consideration as the "next" version of HTML. If they had done this, today we would all have a better tool to use. 
(I am not going to say that our pages would be "richer" or "more compelling". What the heck does that mean? Sounds like marketing-speak to me. I have found that "richer" means that the pages are resource-hungry pigs that take eons to download, and "compelling" means that you are frozen like a deer in the headlights of an onrushing truck which, when it finally hits you, turns out to be nothing but a bunch of hot air.) 
Because a more advanced standard wasn't established years ago, we have to struggle with the two major players (Netscape and Microsoft, as if you didn't know) going their own directions and inventing their own "right" way of doing things. 
The two major browsers are in never-ending beta cycles because they are trying to simultaneously match features and out-do each other. This means that I have to use several versions of Netscape and Internet Explorer in order to make sure that my pages work properly for most people. 
In the closed environment of an office intranet, you can dictate the browser to be used, but on the Internet there is no place for "Designed for (insert your browser here)".

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