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Webreference.com: HTML 3.0 and Netscape 3.0: Preview of HTML 3.0

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Preview of HTML 3.0

HTML 3.0 and Netscape 3.0


Here's a hyperized excerpt from the HTML 3.0 draft overview that gives an overview of HTML 3's new features:

HTML 3.0 builds upon HTML 2.0 and provides full backwards compatibility. Tables have been one of the most requested features, with text flow around figures and math as runners up. Traditional SGML table models, e.g. the CALS table model, are really complex. The HTML 3.0 proposal for tables uses a lightweight style of markup suitable for rendering on a very wide range of output devices, including braille and speech synthesizers.

HTML 3.0 introduces a new element: FIG for inline figures. This provides for client-side handling of hotzones while cleanly catering for non-graphical browsers. Text can be flowed around figures and you can control when to break the flow to begin a new element.

Including support for equations and formulae in HTML 3.0 adds relatively little complexity to a browser. The proposed format is strongly influenced by TeX. Like tables, the format uses a lightweight style of markup - simple enough to type in by hand, although it will in most cases be easier to use a filter from a word processing format or a direct HTML 3.0 wysiwyg editor. The level of support is compatible with most word processing software, and avoids the drawbacks from having to convert math to inline images.

The Web has acted as a huge exercise in user testing, and we have been able to glean lots of information from the ways people abuse HTML in trying to get a particular effect; as well as from explicit demand for new features. HTML 3.0, as a result, includes support for customised lists; fine positioning control with entities like &emspace; horizontal tabs and horizontal alignment of headers and paragraph text.

Additional features include a static banner area for corporate logos, disclaimers and customized navigation/search controls. The LINK element can be used to provide standard toolbar/menu items for navigation, such as previous and next buttons. The NOTE element is used for admonishments such as notes, cautions or warnings, and also used for footnotes.

Forms have been extended to support graphical selection menus with client-side handling of events similar to FIG. Other new form field types include range controls, scribble on image, file upload and audio input fields. Client-side scripting of forms is envisaged with the script attribute of the FORM element. Forms and tables make for a powerful combination offering rich opportunities for laying out custom interfaces to remote information systems.

To counter the temptation to add yet more presentation features, HTML 3.0 is designed (but doesn't require) to be used together with style sheets ( work on style sheets ) which give rich control over document rendering, and can take into account the user's preferences, the window size and other resource limitations, such as which fonts are actually available. This work will eventually lead to smart layout under the author's control, with rich magazine style layouts for full screen viewing, switching to simpler layouts when the window is shrunk.

The BANNER element

The new tag is used for corporate logos, navigation aids, disclaimers and other information which shouldn't be scrolled with the rest of the document. It provides an alternative to using the LINK element in the document head to reference an externally defined banner.

The FIG element

The new FIG (FIGure) tag is more powerful than the IMG tag, and should be used instead once browsers support it. It is designed for larger graphics, and provides captions, overlays, client-side ISMAPs, and the intriguing possibility of 3D virtual reality.

Folded lists with the LH element

The new LH tag (list header) used in lists [Ra 95g] is a cleaner way to label longer multilevel lists. Browsers that support unfolding/folding lists can use the LH tags to create expandable/contractible outlines from your HTML.

The MATH element

The <MATH> element is used to include math expressions in the current line. HTML math is powerful enough to describe the range of math expressions you can create in common word processing packages, as well as being suitable for rendering to speech.

Style Sheets

To counter the temptation to add yet more presentation features, HTML 3.0 is designed (but doesn't require) to be used together with style sheets (work on style sheets) which give rich control over document rendering, and can take into account the user's preferences, the window size and other resource limitations, such as which fonts are actually available.

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Revised: Apr. 14, 1996

URL: http://webreference.com/html3andns/preview.html