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Re: extensions of text/enriched

1993-04-20 11:57:23
Excerpts from internet.ietf-822: 20-Apr-93 Re: extensions of text/enri..
John C Klensin(_at_)infoods(_dot_)m (490*)

For whatever it is worth, my general impression is that, as soon as we
start pushing text/enhanced into a discussion of what fonts are available
on what specific printers that we are far past something that is supposed
to facilitate display of mail with more elegant formatting than the 
conventional plain-ascii stuff and well into "invent your own format-level
markup language".  

Is it worth taking a step back and reviewing what we are trying to 
accomplish here and why?

Agreed.  The real question, I guess, is whether it makes sense to have
the text/enriched format be extensible at all.  I would argue that it
is, mainly because I believe in evolution.  What I would love to see
happen is for different people to experiment with enriched text as
different extensions to text/enriched, thus preserving some level of
interoperability during the experiments.  It may be a pipe-dream, but my
hope is that the "bottom-up" approach to standardization which I believe
MIME embodies -- standardization one step at a time, as consensus
emerges, starting with the most basic level and working up -- is the
best hope of EVER standardizing on enriched text formats.  Arguments of
RTF vs SGML vs ODA vs etc etc will never be resolved, in my opinion.

So, the goal is to have something that has an extremely simple core, but
is extensible. I'm leaning towards the view that if we adopt <param> we
can get rid of the extensions parameter, the <extensions> environment,
and the <comment> environment, thus achieving an impressive amount of
both simplicity AND extensibility.

Perhaps some day it will be reasonable to argue over the right way to
denote presentation fonts in text/enriched.  I actually hope so.  I
agree that it is WAY premature now, so all I care about is that it is
somehow possible to do it with the extension mechanisms.  It clearly is
possible to do it with params, so as far as I'm concerned, that's all we
need to say about presentation fonts for now.    -- Nathaniel

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