Why HTML never has really caught on?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by takao21203, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. takao21203

    Thread Starter Distinguished Member

    Apr 28, 2012
    1. HTML has many advantages. It is compact, modular and portable. The source code is always available.

    But not many people are really using it, be it for creating documents, to publish works on the internet etc.

    Most people either use PDF or WORD (which is awful for editing websites).

    2. HTML on websites is nowadays often used in a way so it looks very complicated (and indeed it is). All the efforts for some fancy formatting, and to display weird adverts that few people will pay attention to.

    3. Portals like Facebook are really kind of designed for computer illiterate people, who don't want to use HTML- like programming.

    But A), plain HTML is very simple to use actually.
    And B), so much expression potential is lost. What you can produce in terms of content on facebook is really just the timeline. And it is kind of dumb.

    4. Take a look my new homepage. Not so much examining the content as such (which of course you are also free to do), but to consider it is really just plain HTML. I am amazed what it allows me to do: Combine graphical buttons and hyperlinks in a table, at the same time, it is also searchable by the textual descriptions. These hyperlinks point to scripted installations on subdomains!


    I can use HTML widgets as well (pieces of HTML obtained from other web portals). This allows me to display images without ever writing the HTML myself. And on the portal, comments can be written etc., just not on the website.

    I can even embedd FLASH objects (OK I actually nicked that one from Yahoo).

    5. But what is standard nowadays? Some years ago, lame Symbian phones with crappy apps, and locked out filesystem. Now it is cranked up touch devices, iPhones etc. I wonder if it is still possible to use HTML on these!

    6. Or is it that in general, a distinction between "consumer type" users, and "author type" users should be made?

    I tried for instance a $200 Sony phone, the images from the integrated camera basically were crap, only good for SNS, but not much else. So I use a 14MP digital camera, and a $25 mobile telephone.

    What we are supposed to be? Consumers of songs, movie clips, and rather useless apps? For sure they will become better, but I really have never encountered any really useful "App".

    Not to say, I have not yet tried Windows 8. Some days ago I received a Dell C610 Laptop- Intel 1GHz CPU, 512 MB RAM, but the wall adapter broken. Ordered a new one! Maybe I can play Dungeon Siege 1 again very soon! These laptops costed about $2000 when they were introduced. Now they can be had for about $100 on eBay.

    7. Or take for instace Wikipedia, which has outlawed HTML as such, being totally evil. Even if you host a WIKI yourself, you will find it very hard to include images. It is just crap. And don't even think about widgets, or image comments.

    Maybe all this is due to the fact that HTML comes from an research environment, it was not designed as a consumer product in the first instance. It has only caught on because at that time nothing else was available, and it turned out to be comfortable to use.

    Think of another internet- if it had turned the way Facebook and Wikipedia are right now. Supress all that creativity...

    8. Should I rather post this to my blog?
    But I would enjoy to discuss some aspects of my thoughts. Maybe you have an opinion of your own about HTML.

    The way wikipedia is designed it really turned out there are often 10, 20, or more nearly identical copies of an article, cobbled together on various portals, and clogging up search results.

    If it is a homepage which contains authored information, there is often just one copy. It would be theft just to take the content and to rehost it. After all, GFDL has not really caught on as well, even if some people are using it. On Facebook, yes you waive all your rights similar to GFDL, or even less than that- do they need to give attribution, if any?

    The internet is constantly evolving and changing, and there are people who are really paying attention to that. Even if they don't always put their words in a manner that "social revolution would take place", and "heads would roll", and "whole enterprises would just vanish very soon".

    Maybe it's "The Death of the PC"? I have a laptop now, so I can only laugh about that. I am prepared. At least as long as there is Lithium, and big japanese battery factories.
  2. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
    What do you mean "not many people are really using it" and "Why HTML never really has caught on"?

    HTML is everywhere. You are reading an HTML document right now.
    thatoneguy and maxpower097 like this.
  3. takao21203

    Thread Starter Distinguished Member

    Apr 28, 2012
    Yes in a sense you are right (even if this forum is running on PHP and is using HTML mainly as a wrapper).

    By using, I mean to use it originally, in terms you create documents or webpages by the means of spelling HTML tags like img and a href and table.
  4. Sparky49

    Active Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    I have a website. If I need to change a picture or add some text, I can do it and change the page in about 15 seconds with a WYSIWYG program. That's without having to even use the tutorial.

    I think you forget that different people have different priorities in life. People who use Facebook tend to want to just put up a dozen pics for others to see. Or to converse with someone. Creativity isn't that big an issue.

    I'm not saying one way is right or wrong, but some people don't want to spend their time learning html.
    strantor and Wendy like this.
  5. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    Because normal people couldn't handle coding to do simple things on their computers. I agree html is easy but most people don't grasp it. As far as web design using HTML less and less yes thats true because of web apps like joomla, and others. They allow you to do things that would take hours in HTML in minutes. They also allow code illiterate people to be web designers. Then add in all the build your own website, sites. And you can see how sloppy the nets getting. It wierd sometimes you'll see a multimillion dollar company with a $100 website, then you'll see your local dog groomers site rivals Pepsi.com
  6. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
    For word processing:

    I'm guessing because it is heavy. Why take several bytes for a tag when you can take one or two. That all adds up in file size when you are dealing with hundreds of pages per file.

    Plus all that HTML needs to be managed with code. Again why manage several bytes per tag when one or two will do?

    Not to mention a software developer isn't constrained to HTML standards.

    so there are lots of reasons it is not used.

    For website creation:

    It is being used. Frankly I'd rather use a WYSIWYG editor. I just don't have the time to code a page by hand. WYSIWYG editors might not do the best job creating HTML but they can be an enormous time saver especially for people that don't eat, drink, live and sleep html.
  7. takao21203

    Thread Starter Distinguished Member

    Apr 28, 2012
    Thank you for your input.

    Many ISPs now offer automated scripts, it is easy to install them without actual HTML programming. But of course, there is no such thing as a free ISP. There have been free services, there is still GEOCITIES JAPAN (50MB), but most of these either vanished, are jailed with advertising, or don't allow you to use a database.

    It is more like if you use a SNS or web portal (Wikipedia is kind of a web portal technically), you have to accept what their owners think is good and cheap in terms of layout, of possibilities, and how to do things.

    My problem or question or the topic I try to find more information about it is: Why not everyone has a homepage? And why so many homepages from the era of time when the internet started have been abandoned? Because there is no SNS component? There is now, since you can have comments on image widgets (for instance).

    But the same good I could ask why Symbian phones are so dumb (except you really just want to use them as a phone nothing more)? Why are video game consoles are abandoned every few years and the accompanying storylines dumped as well (innovation being one reason)? Why your television never talks back? In the end it is now clear to me, there is some flicker on the television screen, but even if it is MTV, they are not really singing a song. True they did in the studio, but it is canned entertainment.

    Now what bugs me is that many people seem to accept all these services and web portals as is and if things have been like that since the beginning of time. Only to see web services, web portals and the like to disappear, often after just a few years.

    Or take a look at internet news. The URLs often become void within a year or two. So this will ultimatively make it difficult to research history. Or is it discarded on purpose? I have sometimes gone so far to convert news articles into HTML pages!

    Altogether the technology used on the internet, and the variation in layout makes me believe this is one hudge pile of anarchy. Only dictated by people doing fresh investments, and new technology emerging.

    Maybe this thread seems to be unorganized and raising many topics. But I have many questions about the internet, what is happening, and why. I have some ideas, but most of these questions may remain unanswered.

    I saw the internet emerging in the late 1990s! At this time Intel 80486 computers were used. Geocities used to be 10 MB, and email was something really new! In another 5 years or 10 years from now on, again it will be completely different from what is available now.

    But really this seems to be the underlying idea or question for this thread, there are really some web portal operators who pour their stuff into concrete, or who pour out concrete into the internet. All too often I also see email addresses bouncing, and even professional websites to contain many dead links.

    And I like HTML! At least technically, it allows me (even if I break copyright) to store an interesting news article in a very compact format, and to add it to my own web space.


    If you look at this article, in the meanwhile, some contained images are no longer displayed: http://outdoor.geocities.jp/astroboy2811/htp1/astronomy1.html

    I don't do this regularily, because it is quite time consuming to strip off all the javascript, and all the advertising.

    But HTML allows such a thing technically.

    I have not very often seen people doing such a thing on the internet, and there are reasons, for one it takes a lot of effort, and another reason is the copyright- in theory, Yahoo could sue you. In real world, they maybe won't, because they did not produce the content, and because they are so disorganized they don't have proper ways to deal with that. Their internal structure is changing constantly.

    But is it really criminal to store a news article you saw on the internet? To read it again later on? Or to allow others to use it for research?

    I saw this website: http://iran-daily.com/
    All the news articles are archieved by their publication data, and are still accessible. Far less anarchy than Yahoo News, where the articles will vanish very quickly (or was this fixed by now?).

    And you can download every article as PDF. A good example.
  8. Georacer


    Nov 25, 2009
    This is interesting. Why would you pursue such a goal for internet content perservation? Of course you can download any content that you find interesting for safekeeping, but do that on purpose for everyone to access it years after its publication?

    I think the most important questions to answer beforehand are:
    1. Is it cost effective to "save the internet"? In other words, would it be a waste of money and infrastructure to save ALL of the content?
    2. Is it philosophically correct and sane to preserve every sentence written on the internet? I 'd like to answer that the majority of the content online is rubbish and the humanity should be gifted its oblivion. Don't get me wrong. I love statistics and I understand the need for data preservation for future use. But I feel that content saving should be an active procedure, in order to filter the useful data from the lot.
  9. Sparky49

    Active Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    I know the websites you mean. You can tell they are quite old, because they always have one image tiled across the whole screen.

    Of course, the text is all times new roman, and is the same colour as the picture backgrounds.

    Many have gifs all over the place.

    I quite like finding them. It's almost like exploring a rainforest and coming across an ancient temple. How long since the last person was here? Is the author still alive?

    It's too late to explore the earth, and it's too early to explore space. We gotta explore something. :D
  10. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    I've used HTML, BB code is easier.
  11. takao21203

    Thread Starter Distinguished Member

    Apr 28, 2012
    Well I certainly like the idea to be able to save news articles as PDF. And also to have easy access to the complete archieve (even if it is only indexed by time, not by topics).

    That is of course a bit a stray from "Why HTML has never really caught on".

    But I really think the majority of people is not using it.

    Yes you can save webpages directly as HTML, but all the javascript, CSS, and advertising will be contained.

    Sometimes the adverts will cover real products or services. Sometimes they will cover weird campaigns about old ladies, weight loss, and the like. Or they will offer obscure coupons. Most of them are really just pollution, in addition, the stuff won't be available locally anyway.
  12. takao21203

    Thread Starter Distinguished Member

    Apr 28, 2012
    And a MIDI file will start playing automatically. How annoying.

    There is a quite interesting article about Yahoo here:
  13. MvGulik


    Nov 3, 2011
    Not sure if it still the case. But there was a little bit more to it than just knowing your HTML. Like knowing all active browser specifics differences could be a major additional learning head-age.

    Mmm, What might be seen as useful now. Might not be seen as useful later.
    (History has some nice cases where some stuff was (deliberately) left out, or edited away. Although back than a information/junk overload was of a lesser concern.)
  14. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
    PHP is running the forum, and is displaying the output in HTML format (also XML for export/archivng). The PHP is a "wrapper" for the database of posts, HTML is simply the format language for web browsers, which are FAR from standardized. HTML is in no way "universal" due to Microsoft adding their own tags.

    HTML is a subset of XML designed for web page display only. It is not for formatting to print, the browser does that. HTML needs to display properly on any size screen from a mobile phone to a desktop. Flash is discouraged due to cross-platform compatibility.

    Sounds like you want to create something similar to the Wayback Machine which saves the HTML data as XML and stores it in a database.

    PDF is for displaying content as it was designed to be displayed, either on the screen or when printed, it would be a huge task to convert PDF to HTML with any sort of accuracy unless strictly limiting the HTML view window, which goes against the HTML design.

    HTML input to post updates isn't allowed due to the ability of Injection Attacks, browser-redirection/hijacking, and many other issues. BBCode is a "Sanitized Subset" of HTML for formatting posts, such as this one, even though once submitted, it is stored as data with the BBCode, not the decoded formatting, which is only visible when viewing the thread itself, at which point the data is rendered in HTML.

    A table can be made, images can be embedded, and depending on the site, flash, with BBCode. This is regarding forums. With Wordpress, there are many more options.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012
  15. takao21203

    Thread Starter Distinguished Member

    Apr 28, 2012
    I have not said I wanted to create some kind of internet archieve.

    So HTML has never caught on for personal use, because it is not safe (Injection Attacks, browser-redirection/hijacking, etc.)
  16. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
    Partly, though the advances in layout have pretty much limited it to dynamic content, rather than static pages. The "look" of HTML can be easily changed by changing the style sheet, but this adds another file. In addition, a number of javascript applets can be embedded that can do many useful things.

    HTML is Everywhere, it is the Standard for surfing the web. If you pick "View Source" in your browser, you will see HTML. The reason sites do not allow direct usage of HTML is because it is so dynamic/powerful, allowing embedding of many types of objects from many sources, and not all of them are "nice people". BBCode allows linking, image display, etc while blocking browser hijacks and as many other unwanted elements a user may have added.

    Security is good in HTML itself, it is how both the server and client handle the data. Microsoft Internet Explorer is famous for having bugs that allow taking over a machine back when in-line ActiveX was pushed as an alternative to Javascript. HTML isn't a Turing complete programming language like javascript or PHP, so the failures are in the implementation of HTML.

    Microsoft Office now saves documents in XML format, which is the superset that can describe anything from a database to a document display. XML is a subset of SGML, and HTML is a subset of XML, if that makes any sense.

    HTML doesn't support enough attributes (or too many, depending on how one looks at it) to properly render content such as resumes or datasheets accurately when printed . XML does, though PDF is more common for that purpose as PDF has been around a long time and is a standard output format from scanners to office programs.
  17. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    Crossplatform HTML has never been an issue.HTML is HTML is HTML and it displays the same on all browsers or viewers. Its rendering the CSS that screws different browsers up. Making bleeds where you don't want em, making the background black on all browsers but white on Mozilla. CSS is what causes the problems not HTML
  18. maxpower097

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2009
    Oh and PDF's are the best for what they do because their vector based text and graphics. Otherwise you'd have to make huge flash files. Reading PDF's just makes it so easy when you can blow up txt and gain image quality.
  19. takao21203

    Thread Starter Distinguished Member

    Apr 28, 2012
    On the Amiga, something like hypertext existed- it was called Amiga Guide.

    It was a transition, kind of, from plain ASCII to hypertext- documents including links.

    There was not any advertising contained. There was not even the option to inline graphics.
  20. atferrari

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 6, 2004
    Not very impressive, let me tell you.