At the 30th
IETF in Toronto, on 26 July 1994, a BOF was held
on the formation of a HyperText Markup Language (HTML)
There were 58 attendees.
Dan Connolly and David Ragget
had expressed regret at not being able to
Paper documents distributed at the meeting were the
draft charter of the proposed working group,
and the current (of July 21, dated July 31!) version of the
The chairman stateed that the purpose for which the meeting
had been called was to consider the creation of
a new working group to work on the HyperText MarkUp Language
(HTML) specification. He elaborated:
- The original HTML spec was kept on the web
only, and edited by the author in response to discussion
on the net.
- Much work was later put in by Dan Connolly
who cleared up its relationship to SGML and tested it.
- An Internet Draft was produced.
- The draft was broght up in the IIIR working group
which deliberated on the fact that it was existing practice
not designed within the IETF.
The alternatives of an informatinal status and proposed standards
status were discussed without resolution. The matter was put to
the Area Directors who proposed it be put to the IESG who
did not come up with an answer.
- The Internet Draft expired.
- David Ragget of HP Labs Bristol UK put in a lot
of editorial work on the document, including a lot of the new
features which were in common discussion on the net.
It was not clear whether the result of this should in factbe
a rigid superset of HTML, and it was known as HTMLPlus
in the meantime.
- A group of vendors wishing to World-Wide Web compatible
tools demanded a quotable specification for HTML. A informal
HTML Implementors Group (HTML-IG) was formed.
- HTML-IG met during the WWW94 conference in Geneva,
which itself also contained an HTML workshop.
This produced a useful understanding of the feature
sets into which new developments could be grouped.
- Paul Mockapetris, IETF chair, encouraged the persuance
of WWW standards in the IETF context, and at the last moment
the present BOF was organized.
- Karen Mulrow, colleague of Dan Connolly, edited
the HTML spec of existing practice to increase its legibility
producing the draft distributed at the meeting.
of HTML-IG was held yesterday (25 July)
at the offices of SCO, Toronto. A few technical but mostly
editorial change were proposed to the spec of existing practice.
The essential points of
a draft working group charter
were drawn up.
This was to have a strong focus to:
- Describe before developing
- Base spec on existing practice
- Express the relationship of hTML to: URI, MIME, SGML, HTTP.
- Define conformance levels
- Define transition possibilities and compatibilities
between versions and levels
Levels of HTML
The conclusion of the WWW94 workshop was that the features
culd be grouped in levels such that software capable of
implementing level N may reasonably be required to implement
levels k<N. Therefore,
a level number rather than a bit mask used to represent
application capabilities. The levels proposed were as follows.
Levels 0,1,2 have multiple implementations.
Levels 3 and 4 are experimental as yet.
- Level 0
- Mandatory. Headings, lists, anchors, etc.
(Provides the least differences in presentation
- Level 1
- Images, Emphasis (Can confuse if used for semantics
not evident also from text)
- Level 2
- Forms. (Require greater implementation effort)
- Level 3
- Not existing practice. Tables, figures.(& other
effects breaking normal text flow.)
- Level 4
- Mathematical formulae
The following comments were made during the ensuing discussion.
The BOF unanimously proposed that an IETF working group
should be created under the
charter as amended to reflect
the comments made where appropriate.
- The IESG now had policy for incorporating existing
practice on the IETF standards track. It would see whether
the issues addressed had wider implications than the
existing applications, and if so would broaden the discussion.
- The specification should describe WWW's use of
relative URIs, as they were not defined in the URL specification
(which was in a final stage of discussion in the morning).
- There is a new www-security list which has just been
created and has around 300 members after 3 days.
If the kernel of interested people who are willing to
work together can be found, then a working group on
the issues would be useful, There two independent
implementations of secure additions to HTTP.
[subscription requets to email@example.com]
- The WG charter should mention that the spec
to be produced should mention the relationship
(for example the mapping between equivalent concepts)
between HTML and HyTime.
- The charter should be as clear as the transparency
about the guidelines for the working group.
Ed Levinson <ELevinson@Accurate.com>
mentioned an effort underway to investigate
the conventions for distributing SGML as a MIME type.
It was pointed out that this involves resolution of
identifieres used in references, and therefore has an impact on URIs.
A mailing list exists for the discussion, and a BOF is proposed
for the next IETF. To subscribe to list, mail
This report (with apologies for any lack of objectivity)
by the chaiman, Tim Berners-Lee <firstname.lastname@example.org>