Erik Naggum writes:
| If the task of creating something that is understandable and useful on
| its own merits (by a self-professed SGML expert, no less) is "futile",
Objection! You can twist your own words around as you wish, but
keep your hands off mine, please. I argued against the _size_
limitation of the present richtext specification, which is so small
as to say almost nothing. I didn't argue against an "understandable
and useful [language] on its own merits", for christ's sake.
I beg to differ; I didn't twist your words. The request from Mr.
Moore was originally for "a richtext-like language which is of similar
size and capability... which is SGML compatible, but which doesn't
require extensive knowledge of SGML to understand or implement". The
bit about being "understandable" is right there. The term "useful"
represents "similar size and capability" in the context of MIME's
stated goals for richtext.
You labeled the creation of such a language "an exercise in futility".
Once again, if carrying out out this task is indeed futile, how can
SGML possibly be seriously proposed as a viable structure for creating
document description languages?
| Isn't this the same general mentality that produced another wonderful
| ISO standard, PHIGS?
The principle of guilt by association makes it so simple to judge
things, doesn't it, Marc?
No, but when I see the same mentality, seemingly inclined towards
complexity for its own sake and dismissing the idea of creating
reasonably simple and workable systems as "futile", I start to wonder.
I'm not just SGML-bashing; I was looking forward to (and continue to
look forward to) seeing the "real SGML" equivalent of richtext -- even
just as a case study of how SGML is indeed a workable system -- and
because of this I am disappointed that you don't think it's worth your
time to create it.
(This conversation may be more appropriate off-line, but I think it
bears public airing -- since another of the stated goals of MIME is
that richtext be SGML compatible and appropriate for definition by a
DTD, it seems appropriate that issues regarding SGML's usefulness
and/or appropriateness in this environment bear discussion.)
Software Development Group
National Center for Supercomputing Applications