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

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Date: Fri, 19 Mar 2010 20:47:28 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-Id: <E1Nsj6O-0008O8-PY@wiggum.w3.org>

--- Comment #29 from Larry Masinter <lmm@acm.org>  2010-03-19 20:47:27 ---
> Another example of an authoring-conformance requirement that's not a
> document-conformance requirement is
> http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/syntax.html#the-doctype - the "The DOCTYPE legacy
> string should not be used unless the document is generated from a system that
> cannot output the shorter string." statement.
> Granted, that's only a SHOULD-level requirement. But it nevertheless states
> conformance criteria that is not checkable given a document alone; checking it
> instead also requires that you have some knowledge of how the document was
> generated.
> Anyway, I think as far as making things more explicit, the distinction is that
> document-conformance requirements can be checked by looking at a document in
> isolation from however it was generated or in isolation from whoever wrote it.

While I appreciate the support, I don't really agree with your example.

The distinction between "MUST" and "SHOULD" in conformance requirements is that
"SHOULD" allows some wiggle-room: implementations can be conforming and yet not
implement "SHOULD" in situations where there are well known, understood, and
established exceptional circumstances. The presence of a DOCTYPE in one or
another well-known format can be a document conformance requirement (SHOULD)
even if the exceptions are because of other reasons relating to deployment,
compatibility with legacy workflows, or even social engineering (convincing the
authoring community to adopt new practices that were previously not

I don't think the fact that the applicability of exceptions might depend on
context means that a conformance requirement that applies to documents
automatically is re-categorized as an authoring tool conformance requirement.

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Received on Friday, 19 March 2010 20:47:31 UTC

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