Friday, October 27, 2006

Berners-Lee on the future of HTML

The other day I asked my HINF studens who Tim Berners-Lee is. Nobody knew. I was tempted to fail everybody, but in addition to lacking that power I knew I was simply being an old curmudgeon. The world moves on, and Berners-Lee is an anti-celebrity. Even his blog doesn't identify him, save by the letters "timbl". I guess that's the way he wants it.

Today TBL affirmed what I've read elsewhere -- the XML version of HTML was stillborn.
Reinventing HTML | Decentralized Information Group (DIG) Breadcrumbs

... Some things are clearer with hindsight of several years. It is necessary to evolve HTML incrementally. The attempt to get the world to switch to XML, including quotes around attribute values and slashes in empty tags and namespaces all at once didn't work. The large HTML-generating public did not move, largely because the browsers didn't complain. Some large communities did shift and are enjoying the fruits of well-formed systems, but not all. It is important to maintain HTML incrementally, as well as continuing a transition to well-formed world, and developing more power in that world...
This is gracefully conceding to the inevitable. Guided evolution will be the future ...

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