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Re: [BUG?] TD inline content not accepted with strict doctype

From: J. David Bryan <jdbryan@acm.org>
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2001 00:27:18 -0500
Message-Id: <200101060527.AAA11736@mail.bcpl.net>
To: HTML Tidy List <html-tidy@w3.org>
On 5 Jan 2001, at 21:27, Barney Wol wrote:

> Hmmm, the way I would read that recommendation is that the W3C is 
> trying to encourage HTML 4 standards.

Indeed, I agree.  But note that it states that HTML 4 documents should be 
created _instead_ of HTML 3.2 documents.  A document containing, e.g., just 
simple paragraph elements will validate as either an HTML 2.0, HTML 3.2, or 
HTML 4.01 document.  The difference is only in the doctype chosen.   
However, to comply with the recommendation, one must use an HTML 4.01 
doctype, because only then is the document an "HTML 4 document."

The sentence after the one I quoted from the HTML 4.01 Specification is:

  "For reasons of backward compatibility, W3C also recommends that tools
   interpreting HTML 4 continue to support HTML 3.2 and HTML 2.0 as well." 

By stating that support of earlier HTML standards should be maintained for 
"backward compatibility," I would think that implies that these earlier 
standards are not recommended for new authoring work, i.e., that all new 
documents should carry one of the HTML 4.01 doctypes.

> I am open to persuasion, but none-the-less feel sure that a filetype
> should always be specified as the minimum version necessary for a reader
> to be able to decode it....

That would appear to argue that one should never use the HTML 4.01 Strict 
doctype, because any strict document will also validate at the "lesser" 
HTML 4.01 Transitional level.  Wouldn't the HTML 4 Strict doctype be 
pointless then?

Also, that would require that if I create a simple Web page with some 
paragraph elements, I should use an HTML 2.0 doctype.  If I then edit a 
paragraph in that page to include an abbreviation marked by <ABBR> tags, 
then I would change the doctype to HTML 4.01.  And if I delete the 
paragraph containing the ABBR element and replace it with a table, I must 
then reset the doctype to HTML 3.2.  That doesn't seem practicable for a 
Web site of any size or even for a single page that's updated frequently.

The "Techniques for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines" at:


has, as "Checkpoint 11.1:"

  "Use W3C technologies when they are available and appropriate for a task
   and use the latest versions when supported. [Priority 2]" 

Regardless of whether I have a page of simple markup or one that uses the 
latest 4.01 features, I would argue that "use the latest versions" implies 
that I should be using HTML 4.01 doctypes exclusively for all new 

Of course, as one of the editors of the HTML 4.01 Specification, Dave 
Raggett would be in a perfect position to tell us the intent of the 
standard.  Dave, is it a replacement for previous HTML versions, or is it 
co-standard to be used only when HTML 4-only features are needed?

(Actually, I am sympathetic to Barney's position that the doctype should 
reflect the level of the content.  I just don't believe that the W3C 
recommendation intends this. :-)

                                      -- Dave
Received on Saturday, 6 January 2001 00:27:22 UTC

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