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[Bug 7034] authoring conformance requirements in the spec should either be removed or replaced

From: <bugzilla@wiggum.w3.org>
Date: Fri, 19 Jun 2009 10:47:11 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-Id: <E1MHbcl-0004E3-9N@wiggum.w3.org>
http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=7034





--- Comment #15 from Michael(tm) Smith <mike@w3.org>  2009-06-19 10:47:10 ---
(In reply to comment #13)
> It would also be helpful to discuss whether things like misnested elements
> "<b><i>foo</b></i>"

I would think most everybody agrees that misnested elements are harmful. And
the spec currently does define misnested elements as an authoring conformance
error (though IMHO at least, it could do so much more explicitly than it does
now).

> and &foo= in href values should be considered harmful.

The case of &foo= seems to me to be in very different class than that of
misnested elements. It is not just markup, it occurs much more commonly, and is
not clearly/intuitively an error. Intuitively, I would think I should be able
to copy a URL from the address bar of my browser and copy into the source for
any HTML page I'm authoring.

> Having authoring /tools/ (as contrasted with hand-authored markup) emit such is
> often a sign of deeper issues.

Ah, OK, I get your point there. But if you're talking about content emitted by
tools, I'd guess that there there are too few (or no) otherwise useful tools
that emit "<b><i>foo</b></i>" -- but there are some quite capable ones that
will gladly emit &foo= in the value of a href attribute, if the user puts it
into the tool that way. I don't think that case on its own would be a sign of
any deeper issue.

> My own personal opinion is that the current conformance requirements are
> judgment calls

And my own personal opinion is that while some of them are, most of them are
not, but instead are mostly based on some careful consideration of what
requirements are optimal, and mostly reflect best practice.

For the ones that are closer to judgment calls, I think those fall into a large
gray where, to paraphrase Henri, you need to decide whose time it is most
important for you not to waste; that is, that it's a case of choosing between
on the one side the risk of perpetuating greater confusion among new authors
who are trying to learn the language, and on the other side, wasting the time
of experienced authors who know what they're doing and who, for example, don't
care to have conformance checkers peppering them with reports about deprecated
attributes that they are using intentionally.

> [...] If the conformance requirements were more comprehensive,
> and split into categories (example: those issues that are indicative of
> structural problems, markup that has proven to be error prone, and markup where
> there are preferred alternatives),

Categorizing them in the way seems like a useful task that we maybe should try
to get some members of the group to volunteer to do. 


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