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RE: Why Microsoft's authoritative=true won't work and is a bad idea

From: Justin James <j_james@mindspring.com>
Date: Mon, 7 Jul 2008 18:56:48 -0400
To: "'Henrik Nordstrom'" <henrik@henriknordstrom.net>
Cc: "'Julian Reschke'" <julian.reschke@gmx.de>, "'Ian Hickson'" <ian@hixie.ch>, "'Sam Ruby'" <rubys@us.ibm.com>, "'HTTP Working Group'" <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>, <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <045701c8e084$bcfef6f0$36fce4d0$@com>

> Whats wrong with the HTTP URL specification that makes HTML not make
> sense or not work right?
> 
> I know some cases where browsers behave oddly wrt Internet URLs in
> general (mainly http:// and ftp://), and in all cases so far they are
> not following specifications and would behave quite well if they did..

Henrik -

The problem with the concept of HTML specifying its own URLs, from my viewpoint, is that developers need one standard to follow, not 3 (URI, IRI, HTTP URL). All too often, once you get more than 2 competing "standards", none of are actually "standard" and enough will get enough traction so that they never die. I truly think that everyone would be better served if there was simply 1 "U|IR*" standard (it's really sad when a regex is the best way to refer to a group of things...) that developers learn and understand. All of the debate on this list over having a "U|IR*" standard added to the HTML spec, in order to compensate for discrepancies between how U|IR*'s are commonly used in HTML, as opposed to the way the specs read, is further proof that the specs are broken.

A simple summary of my thoughts:
Any spec which is not properly followed by the majority of developers a majority of the time (where pertinent, of course) is not a "standard" and is a broken spec. Sometimes, it is broken outside of the spec itself, such as being sponsored or ratified by an unrecognized body. Other times it is broken within the spec, like 800 page specs describing a floor sweeping process or something. Sometimes it is just a marketing problem (like so many of the X* specs, like XHTML, XForms, XPath, and a zillion other X* specs which few people use).

>From what I can tell, the W3C has very, very hard time producing specs which don't qualify as "broken" by that measure, and HTML is heading that list.

Imagine if drive manufacturers followed the SATA spec as well as HTML authors followed the HTML spec. We'd still be using pen and paper. So we need to be asking ourselves, "what's wrong with HTML that no one follows it?" The answer is not *just* "browsers accept garbage". The answer also includes, "a spec so long and lengthy that only a select few people can understand it to the point where they can write valid HTML." In other words, HTML is broken from the inside.

J.Ja
Received on Monday, 7 July 2008 22:57:46 GMT

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