HTML version 2.0
HTML (or Hyper Text Markup Language) is prehaps the most volatile
resource that is involved. A key feature of the World Wide Web, the
details of HTML's functionality, and the clients which interpret it,
determine the look, feel and limitations of Web resources. While HTML
v2.0 is the current standard, having replaced v1.0 only months ago, and
is largely responsible for the popularity of the Web (thanks to in-line
images, audio and certain formatting features), its limits have been
the source of constant frustration for many developers. This is so
much so that Netscape Communications, makers of the most popular
browser Netscape Navigator, almost immediately introduced ``extensions"
to HTML which have subsequently caused many problems; many Web designers
use the extensions (such as tables, background colours, and
server/client push/pull) resulting in pages that can only be properly
viewed by Netscape.
An instantiation of SGML (Standard General Markup Language), HTML is composed
of plain text ``marked up" with special instruction elements which suggest
how the text should be organized including text formatting, in-line images,
page elements such as lines, and hypertextual links between different pages
potentially on different servers across the Internet. When HTML-encoded
information is delivered upon request, the client is free to interpret the
elements howsoever it has been configured to. This makes quality control
very difficult as there is little guarantee that the person viewing the
information is seeing it as it was intended.
The latest version of HTML has now been released, v3.0, and it includes
provision for a new programming element, Java. We comment on the
anticipated role of Java in a later section. We have not made any use
of either HTML v3.0 or Java.