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[Bug 13479] Document conformance/validity has to be stable over the time

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Sun, 31 Jul 2011 14:39:18 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-Id: <E1QnXAk-0000Zy-5k@jessica.w3.org>
http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=13479

Aryeh Gregor <Simetrical+w3cbug@gmail.com> changed:

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--- Comment #2 from Aryeh Gregor <Simetrical+w3cbug@gmail.com> 2011-07-31 14:39:17 UTC ---
I agree with the original commenter.  The point of document conformance is to
encourage authors to do the right thing by letting them claim their page is
conforming, as a reward for good behavior.  If authors go to the effort of
making a page conforming, they should be rewarded by having the page conform
indefinitely.  If authors do all that work and then overnight their pages
retroactively become invalid due to some spec writers deciding some feature
isn't a good idea anymore, they're going to become demoralized and not want to
make their pages valid.

Specifically, I propose the following approach to versioning for authoring
conformance.  Every X years (say two or four), declare a snapshot version of
authoring requirements, maybe call it HTML 2012 or whatever.  Anytime a page
that was previously valid is made invalid by a spec or registry change, note in
the spec or registry that it's still valid HTML 2012 (or whatever), but not
later.  Anytime a page that was previous invalid is made valid, make pages
retroactively valid too, so authors don't have to rewrite their pages to use
new features and remain valid.  Then have the validator say "This is valid HTML
2012, but not HTML latest" or something.

Examples:

1) In 2012, we take a snapshot of author conformance requirements.  In 2013, we
decide that <a name> should be made invalid.  Then we change the spec to say
something like: "The name attribute on the a element is not conforming in
versions of HTML later than 2012.  For HTML 2012 and earlier, conformance
checkers must treat a nonempty name attribute on an a element as obsolete but
conforming."  When this spec change is made, validators will no longer say
(e.g.) "This page is fully valid HTML", but instead something like "This page
is valid HTML 2012", with a link you can click to see what stops it from being
valid HTML.

2) In 2012, we take a snapshot of author conformance requirements.  In 2017, we
add a new <jack> element to support new hardware that allows users with
appropriate neural implants to control their computer telekinetically, a
feature that proprietary application APIs had for a few years but which was
only just stable enough to add to the web platform.  Pages that were already
valid HTML 2012 but use the new element are still valid HTML 2012.

We'd have to make sure all the registries take the same approach, making sure
that they don't outright remove things but instead just mark them as being only
in the appropriate old version.

All this isn't urgent, though, since HTML5 is still new and imposes lots of
authoring conformance changes, and not many authors seem to be tracking it yet.

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Received on Sunday, 31 July 2011 14:39:18 UTC

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