How do you determine success?

David Megginson david at
Sun Aug 29 21:53:38 BST 1999

Ann Navarro writes:

 > Did HTML 4.0 -- with it's three versions, fail from overcomplexity?

Sorry to be harsh, but I almost never see the required HTML 4.0
DOCTYPE declaration at the top of Web pages and I know of no
widely-deployed HTML user agent that actually tries to distinguish
HTML 4.0 from HTML 3.* and do something useful based on that
distinction (much less one that distinguishes the transitional and
strict flavours).

Certainly, the improved documentation was welcome, and HTML 4.0 was a
brave attempt to codify and direct what was already industry practice.
However, most specs will fail, just as most tadpoles will be eaten --
it's sad (and frustrating for those of us who volunteer so much time
to help develop them), but that's the way it works.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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