Re: 0.5.2 tarball

Eric W. Sink (
Mon, 22 Mar 1999 15:26:52 -0600

> On to more useful topics, is there any interest/current development in an HTML
> import class? It seems a to be a "doable" task given my free time.

As far as we know, no one is working on an HTML importer
for AbiWord.

The core team here at AbiSource doesn't have much interest
in this particular feature, actually. Here's why:

1. Importing HTML into a word processor is hard.

2. Very hard. There's a paradigm mismatch of pretty big
proportions, since HTML has features which word processors
lack (like frames), and lacks features which word processors
have (like headers and footers)

3. Really hard. If you add this feature, users will expect
it to be able to import any HTML file which can be read
by the major browsers. This is a nightmarish proposition,
since IE and Netscape are very forgiving of improper HTML
markup. Writing an interoperable HTML parser requires a
lot of reverse engineering work, trying to figure out the
particular bugs in Netscape's implementation. Using the
Mozilla code may provide information, but the code is
not GPL-compatible, so you can't cut and paste.

4. Writing an interoperable HTML implementation is not fun.
Several of us here at AbiSource are former employees of
Spyglass, where we worked on the team which wrote Spyglass'
commercial version of Mosaic, which became Microsoft's
Internet Explorer. After considerable time spent on the
couches of various shrinks, most of the emotional scars
have healed. None of us are prepared to face that world again.


Eric W. Sink, Software Craftsman

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