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The State of Web Standards

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1 The State of Web Standards
Larry Masinter Xerox Palo Alto Research Center May 1996 Principal scientist what else I work on Document Management Digital Libraries Disclaimer: personal opinion Not official opinion of W3C IETF Xerox corporation 1 1

2 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
Purpose of this talk Describe the standards process Survey current Web-related standards Introduce acronyms and buzzwords Describe relation to other activities May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 2 2

3 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
Organization of talk Part 1: Current State Standards organizations Overview of web-related standards Part 2: Recent activities What's the latest news? What are the hard problems? May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 3 3

4 Vision for the “World Wide Web”…
One network, everyone on it Interoperability across the world Merged modes of communication Retrieve, mail, broadcast, collaborate All media Text, sound, video, animation my vision not there yet. May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 4 4

5 Three categories of web standards
Content what are the objects we’re moving around? Protocols how do they get moved? Naming how to reference something not in hand? For most part, Content is HTML Protocols is HTTP Naming is URLs Web standards are not about implementations, only about “what’s on the wire” CGI??? APIs etc. Plugins May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 5 5

6 But first, some words about …
Standards Organizations Politics May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 6 6

7 The nice thing about standards...
There are so many of them to choose from. By the time things become standards, they're obsolete. Real standards are set by the market, not committees. but... Standards promote interoperability. Jokes about standards May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 7 7

8 Standards follow rather than lead innovation in the cycle
Standardization, Divergence Convergence A few years ago a dozen “Network Information Retrieval” systems in use. Gopher or Prospero or Alex or WWW May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 8 8

9 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
Who makes standards? Standards organizations Consortia Companies Individuals May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 9 9

10 Some Standards Organizations
Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) International Organization for Standardization (ISO) And many others: ANSI, AFNOR, IEEE, etc. May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 10 10

11 Internet Engineering Task Force
Defines standards for the Internet Different rules, structure than most other standards organizations Formal relationship with ISO accreddited May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 11 11

12 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
Internet Society Non-governmental organization created to coordinate Internet activities Umbrella organization for IETF May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 12 12

13 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
IETF structure I’m the (co)chair of HTTP May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 13 13

14 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
IETF Working Groups Open organizations no formal membership, all volunteer Most work happens via may meet at IETF meetings (3 a year) Small focused efforts published goals and milestones No formal voting “Rough consensus and running code” May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 14 14

15 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
IETF Documents Internet-Drafts works in progress, no formal status deleted after 6 months RFCs (Request For Comments) Archived series of documents RFC 1796: “Not all RFCs are Standards” May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 15 15

16 IETF RFC Categories and Process
Standards Track Other Categories Proposed Standard Experimental complete, credible specification not ready for standards track demonstrated utility 6 months - 2 years Draft Standard Informational Most Web standards are Proposed A few aren’t on the chart yet multiple independent Important but not standards track interoperable implementations 4 months - 2 years Standard Historic operational stability superseded or otherwise unused May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 16 16

17 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
IETF Scope Internet Standards: Protocols Data formats used in protocols Not appropriate: Technology not directly related to protocols Application Program Interfaces (API) May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 17 17

18 World Wide Web Consortium
Members are vendors and users Paid staff Develops web protocols Hosts conferences May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 18 18

19 W3C and IETF relationship
W3C develops new proposals IETF reviews proposals, resolves disagreements Not much overlap Cooperation when there is overlap W3C staff participate actively in IETF May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 19 19

20 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
CommerceNet Consortium with focus on use of Internet for electronic commerce Develop mechanisms security, catalogs, EDI, connectivity Education and training Public policy issues May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 20 20

21 Standards & Organizations
Lots of players a common goal: Interoperability a frequent goal: Market Domination Avoid the “tragedy of the commons” May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 21 21

22 Standards for Web Content
HTML MIME and Internet Media Types Survey of other web content Organization of this section? May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 22 22

23 Short diversion: What's SGML?
Standard Generalized Markup Language An ISO standard (ISO8879:1986) A way of writing (ways of writing documents) DTD (Document Type Definition) defines elements and rules about them May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 23 23

24 Markup: saying things about parts
Semantic markup <part-no>N1025B</part-no> Structural markup <H1>N1025B</H1> Presentation markup <font face=aslan>N1025B</font> a controversy May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 24 24

25 HyperText Markup Language (HTML)
An application of SGML (more or less) A way of writing text that includes links and (mainly) structural markup with some other things (like images) embedded. May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 25 25

26 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
HTML design goals lingua franca for the web Hypertext views of existing documents Simple, scaleable Platform independent Support for visually impaired Interoperability with common editors General design goals that led us to where we are today May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 26 26

27 Why HTML isn’t just an application of SGML
It’s defined by an SGML DTD... … plus a description of what the tags mean … plus some rules about how to display things …plus some rules about interaction with forms and URLs … plus some rules about what to do if you see a tag you don't know Formatting… May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 27 27

28 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
HTML 2.0 RFC 1866: IETF Proposed Standard Lots of HTML (as of 1994)... structure, headings, paragraphs, forms, menu, lists, hyperlinks, embedded images … but not all. no tables, fonts, colored backgrounds, or Java May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 28 28

29 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
HTML 2.0 elements Document attributes in header title, base, links Structure headings (H1 … H6), paragraph, address, block Lists, Forms bullet, numbered, definition, menu Hyperlinks Embedded images simple, image map, image in form May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 29

30 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
… more HTML 2.0 elements Phrase markup emphasized, strong citation, variable, sample, keyboard Limited typographical elements bold, italic, monospace Forms small and large text input, select one-of-many, “radio buttons” submit, reset, clear, with URL for action May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 30

31 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
Summary: HTML 2.0 HTML 2.0 Proposed Standard has many features It only has a subset of the HTML that is now in common use Standardization has been difficult current activities & future in Part II May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 31

32 Other data on the Internet: MIME
Multi-Purpose Internet Mail Exchange RFC 1521, 1522 and follow-ons headers in messages to describe body media types for registering formats encodings for transfer character sets Need new heading Multipurpose Internet Mail Exchange Defined for exchanging non-text mail Non ASCII character sets Multimedia Mutipart/mesa May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 32 32

33 Internet Media Types (“MIME types”)
Standard way of naming data formats Hierarchical structure with parameters web, , netnews applications use MIME to decide how to interpret data use instead of file extension (logo.gif) text, image, audio, video, multipart, application May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 33 33

34 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
Images on the Web gif: Graphics Interchange Format 8-bit color, transparent areas; patent cloud jpeg: Joint Photographic Expert Group lossy compression for photos, not line art tiff: Tagged Image File Format issues over tag standardization png: Portable Network Graphics calibration, hypertext links move to afternoon? May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 34 34

35 Other content on the web
Full SGML catalogs, encapsulation Page layout Postscript, Portable Document Format (PDF) Video MPEG, QuickTime, AVI Audio Basic, RealAudio remove to afternoon?? or delete? May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 35 35

36 Other content on the web
Desktop applications Word, Excel, etc. 3D graphics VRML and follow-ons Interactive applications Java and others May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 36 36

37 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
Content on the web Lots of innovation Much of it outside of standardization For now, that’s OK Ultimately, it isn’t Summary Registration, not standardization OK, except… see this afternoon May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 37 37

38 Content needs standards
Benefits from open standards: Interoperability, more platforms & tools Preservation Cost Vendors prefer lock-in sell more tools, software libraries, training, etc. Demand open formats May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 38 38

39 Network Protocols for the Web
There are mainly three things people do on the net send ( ) get (web) broadcast (news) Of course, there’s more: real time interaction, pay for things, share secrets, query databases, etc. May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 39 39

40 HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP)
Started as a simple protocol, designed for the 1990 vision of the World Wide Web open connection to widget.com send “GET /product.html” read headers read body close connection May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 40 40

41 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
HTTP/1.0 added features Multiple content-types Accept, language, charset, content-type More information User-Agent, From, error codes Simple caching last-modified, if-modified-since Basic Authorization May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 41

42 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
HTTP/1.0 specification IETF Informational RFC (Approved March 28, but RFC not assigned as of April 27) HTTP as it was practiced in 1995 Many features “listed but not described” Current implementations differed in interpretation too much May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 42 42

43 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
HTTP standard HTTP/1.1: Proposed Standard soon Clarify ambiguities in HTTP/1.0 Improve performance and load on Internet HTTP/1.2 things that didn’t make 1.1 HTTP-NG redesign rather than incremental distributed object systems ? … more in part II May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 43

44 Other related protocol work
Secure HTTP (S-HTTP) proposed standard soon Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and variations Internet Payment no standards yet Voluntary Access Control charter, but no proposal forwarded yet Explain SSL May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 44 44

45 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
Identifiers in the Web URL: locations New York Public Library, second floor, third aisle, second shelf, third book from left URN: location-independent names QP:475.L95; ISBN: URC: descriptions genre: book, title: The Ecology of Vision; author: J.N.Lythgoe; Date: 1979; Publisher: Clarendon Press, Oxford May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 45 45

46 Uniform Resource Locators
RFC 1630: Uniform Resource Identifiers in the World Wide Web RFC 1736: Functional Recommendations for Internet Resource Locators RFC 1738: Uniform Resource Locators Proposed Standard May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 46 46

47 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
URL Requirements An object that describes the location of a resource Global scope parsable transportable in many contexts extensible not loaded with other information May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 47 47

48 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
URL Proposed Standard limited repertoire of characters not all of ASCII encoding for bytes that can’t be directly represented as one of those characters phrase%20with%20spaces scheme:scheme-specific-part May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 48 48

49 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
Some URL schemes ftp://host.dom/path gopher://host.dom/selector news:group.name news:article-id file:///C:/dos/path telnet://host.dom May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 49 49

50 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
URLs in plain text Recommendations <URL:http://host.dom/path/part> no hyphens when line breaks Does a name need a name? is "tel:" part of your telephone number? May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 50 50

51 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
Relative URLs RFC 1808: Relative Uniform Resource Locators ../image.gif ./dir1/dir2/sample “base” + “relative URL” => “absolute URL” Defines what “base” is for various contexts Not defined in terms of scheme May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 51 51

52 Uniform Resource Names
RFC 1737: Functional Requirements for Uniform Resource Names location-independent designators Requirements global scope, persistent, scaleable …more in Part II May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 52

53 URC: Uniform Resource Characteristics
Syntax for carrying metadata Title A standard set of tags useful for describing Internet resources Standards work: URC working group forming May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 53

54 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
References on the Web URLs are used widely some minor issues with new URL schemes URN and URC work has been slow innovation before standardization May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 54

55 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
Summary, Part I Many organizations and people are involved in producing standards Standards are progressing for data: HTML protocols: HTTP references: URL Part II will cover more about current activities and difficult problems May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 55

56 The State of Web Standards Part II
Larry Masinter Xerox Palo Alto Research Center May 1996 Principal scientist Document Management Digital Libraries 56 1

57 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
Overview of Part II Recent events and current activities Content beyond HTML 2.0 Protocols HTTP and follow-ons References URLs, URNs, URCs May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 57

58 HTML Working Group activity
Tables File Upload Internationalization Embedded objects Extensions … but HTML-WG to finish current work and close, W3C will continue activities May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 58

59 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
HTML Tables February 1, 1996 draft draft-ietf-html-tables-06.txt Recent changes include: more formatting control incremental display compatibility with popular browsers compatibility with CALS May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 59

60 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
File Upload RFC 1867 (Experimental) Add a way that a form can ask a user for a file as well as data to be typed in <INPUT TYPE=FILE> A better encoding for data returned from filling out forms (multipart/form-data) May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 60

61 HTML Internationalization
Extended character sets SGML numeric character references Ӓ always refer to ISO 10646 MIME charset specifies encoding LANG attribute for noting language of sections in multi-lingual text Form submission Minor extra enhancements May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 61

62 Internationalization problems:
Non-ASCII characters in URLs Non-ASCII simple query forms Interaction with <FONT> and style sheets May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 62

63 HTML Style and Style Sheets
Presentation descriptions In a separate resource In the HTML head Inline on each element How are styles described? Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Other proposals? May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 63

64 The debate over inline style (<FONT> or equivalent)
People want it They’ll misuse it Inline style displays faster incrementally Precomputed styles It’s easier to enter inline markup Automated tools make styles just as easy “Give them rope” “They’ll hang themselves” May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 64

65 Compound Documents in HTML
Many tags with similar purpose EMBED, FIG, IMG, OBJECT, APPLET Can these be merged? several proposals made convergence is elusive May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 65

66 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
HTML Link model Beyond <A HREF="…"> Showing relationships internally REL=MADE, REL=PREVIOUS Redefining button-bar elements <LINK REL=xxx HREF="…"> May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 66 66

67 HTML Feature identification
Some mechanism of registering HTML extensions Some mechanism of delivering HTML with conditional features “if you do 12-dimensional tables, use this; if not, use this instead” Possibly some mechanism of client/server negotiation for conditional features May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 67 67

68 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
HTML and IETF IETF usually does protocols, not data formats HTML/2.0 was important enough to be taken up by IETF HTML-WG was behind schedule and not making good progress Industry was going different directions repeated??? Delete? May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 68 68

69 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
HTML Standards status Standardization has been hard Probably won’t be a HTML 3.0 standard IETF HTML-WG to close finish current activities; extensions registration W3C and others to develop features Standardization to lag innovation May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 69 69

70 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
Other media standards MIME revision in progress New hierarchical name space for vendor-defined data types application/vnd.ms-excel New (patent-free) compression mechanisms Much activity in multimedia, outside standard organizations May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 70 70

71 Content: Registration vs. Standardization
Meta-standard: a standard way of saying which non-standard thing you did A way to solve impasse when standardization is not possible Register your types! Not a substitute for convergence May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 71

72 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
The problems with HTTP HTTP traffic clogs Internet TCP/IP designed for “congestion control” Some trans-ocean links are always congested Internet routing caches not useful: too many short connections May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 72 72

73 Things are more complex now
Multiple objects per click Many more users: HTTP dominates traffic Multiple connections: self-congestion Spiders and search engines Proxies, caches, shopping baskets May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 73 73

74 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
Prospective growth To meet projected demand, web capacity needs to increase 10,000-fold. Improvements in infrastructure will result in at most 100 times more capacity. Protocols and use of network need to be 100 times more efficient. May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 74 74

75 Toward better web performance
Persistent connections Multiplexed connections Protocol improvements to allow caching reliably Deployment of caches by national networks, Internet Service Providers May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 75 75

76 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
HTTP/1.1 Highlights HOST header caching content negotiation byte ranges state and sessions persistent connections May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 76 76

77 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
Other HTTP work extensions, demographics feature negotiation Media type parameters Display size, color beyond access version management search May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 77 77

78 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
HTTP-NG “Next Generation” design Not required to be compatible Design goals: simple performance asynchronous operation mandatory display May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 78 78

79 HTTP and distributed objects
Specify protocol with formal specification language Tune transport for situation Allow multiple transports ILU: Inter-Language Unification Distributed object technology Freely available from Xerox CORBA compatible May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 79 79

80 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
Web Security WTS working group S-HTTP to be Proposed Standard Connection-based security SSL Digest Authentication Payment on the Internet IPAY-WG? May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 80 80

81 Access control and ratings
Rating of entertainment content for adult themes How to deal with cultural differences Multiple rating services Voluntary Access Control working group didn’t start May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 81 81

82 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
Web network protocols Save the Internet from the Web! Local decisions can have global impact Many features still needed The “tragedy of the commons” is still a threat take this out? May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 82 82

83 References in the Internet
New URL schemes URNs in development URC syntax developments Unsolved problems May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 83 83

84 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
New URL schemes nttp://host/article-id z39.50 URL schemes ldap: for Light-Weight Directory Access Protocol data:image/gif,,bbacd01xyz non-standard URLs about:mozilla, aol:word, palace://host.dom May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 84 84

85 Uniform Resource Names (URN)
name independent of location; allows for replication, migration separate problems of naming authority and name assignment resolution mechanism: finding information about the thing named location(s) metadata content May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 85 85

86 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
URN naming mechanisms A common syntax urn:hdl:cnri.dlib/august95 urn:lifn:some.domain:anything-goes-here urn:path:/A/B/C/doc.html urn:inet:library.bigstate.edu:aj17-mcc Several different experimental resolution mechanisms Still experimental May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 86 86

87 Uniform Resource Characteristics (URCs)
describe attributes (title, author, data) useful for making a citation URC working group developing charter structure of resource descriptions at least two external syntax representations Many previous standards to choose from May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 87 87

88 Some unsolved problems
stuff goes away Material behind URLs disappears pimples.com vanity domains for billboard use Apple Computer and Apple Music conflicts over short names urn:hdl:MTV/I_quit how does authority migrate? Non-ASCII names May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 88 88

89 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
Current Web Standards Lots of activity Lots of innovation Lots of bad ideas as well as good ones Shake-out will take a long time May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 89

90 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards
The Future Innovation leads, standards follow This will not end Organizations adapt too IETF, ISO are changing, albeit slowly Convergence is not inevitable Things could worse instead of better You can help May 1996 Larry Masinter The State of Web Standards 90

91 The State of Web Standards
Larry Masinter Xerox Palo Alto Research Center May 1996 Principal scientist Document Management Digital Libraries 91 1


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