W3C Style Guide
Date: 22 Apr 1993 00:36-EDT 
From: Robert.Stockton@elrond.gandalf.cs.cmu.edu
To: timbl@nxoc01.cern.ch
Subject: Re: Style Guide for Online Hypertext

I have read through your style guide (via XMosaic) and, although, I am
certainly pleased with the current contents, I have some additional
questions concerning formatting trade-offs that are not covered.

I have recently been experimenting with producing browsable versions of
the various Project Gutenberg etexts (which are, by nature, fairly flat
texts) and have been trying to figure out tradeoffs between placing each
chapter in a separate file vs. keeping the entire document in a flat
file with a separate index page that points to individual chapters via
named anchors.  The tradeoffs that I have identified are the following: 

In favor of multiple files:
* Individual file retrieval times (and possibly memory usage) are
* Users will not be scared off by the sheer size of the document

In favor of a single file w/ named anchors:
* The user may follow the flat structure by simply scrolling through the
  file, without having to navigate around chapter boundaries
* The document is more likely to be consistent, since there is no need to
  keep "next/previous" links
* The elimination of navigation links for flat browsing makes it easier
  to leave the document via the "back" command.

The last point mentioned above seems especially significant to me.
Since xmosaic/WWW allows you to jump through a wide variety of contexts,
I depend upon the ability to use the "back" command to return to my
starting point.  When I have been browsing through an "info-like"
document (such as the style guide), I must pop a great many
sub-documents off of the stack in order to get out of that document and
back to the link that led me there.  

Ideally, I would like to see browsers implement a "next-document"
command which pops back to the "parent document" and then immediately
follows another link to some logical successor to the current document.
(This choice would not always be straightforward, but in many common
"menu selection" cases it would be obvious.)  This would not only
simplify linear reading of linear documents, but would allow (without
zealously enforcing) multiple linear orderings of the same set of

My questions:
  1) Am I missing some important point which would invalidate my
  2) Would these issues be worth discussing in the style guide?
  3) Should I, perhaps, start agitating for a "next-document" feature in

                                        Robert Stockton