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Re: Versioning and html[5]

From: Alfonso Martínez de Lizarrondo <amla70@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2007 22:24:33 +0200
Message-ID: <af2a8eab0704121324i691a3672w8b32766aaf761421@mail.gmail.com>
To: "James Graham" <jg307@cam.ac.uk>
Cc: "Henri Sivonen" <hsivonen@iki.fi>, "Chris Wilson" <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>, "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>

2007/4/12, James Graham <jg307@cam.ac.uk>:
>
> Henri Sivonen wrote:
> >
> > On Apr 12, 2007, at 19:40, Chris Wilson wrote:
> >
> >> I promised I would write up the picture of how we view compatibility
> >> at Microsoft.
> >
> > Thank you. It helps understand the IE team point of view. However, even
> > if we take as granted that IE needs opt-in versioning, there's no
> > guarantee that the opt-in flags for future IE versions will match the
> > publication of future HTML spec versions.
>
> I think this is a very important point. If IE7.5 and IE8 are both
> released in the HTML5 timeframe with IE7.5 introducing a HTML5 mode
> triggered off some assertation in the document that it is HTML5 (e.g.
> from the doctype), would this prevent IE8 from introducing any
> significant HTML/DOM/CSS features/bugfixes in HTML5 mode?

That's exactly my question.

Using the doctype to trigger some different rendering mode in the
browser could only work if there's a certainty that browser versions
and W3C docs would be released at the same pace, so each new version
of the browser could use a newer doctype to improve its standards
support. But if the time frame between newer versions of the standard
is higher than the time it takes to release the new version of the
browser to the market, how could you (as a browser author) say if the
web authors specifying the latest doctype is relying on the bugs of
your previous version or he has checked with this version of your
browser and wants to use all the nice bugfixes that you have been
working on?

> It seems to me that development of language specifications and
> development of browsers are orthogonal processes that should not be tied
> together by versioning info. All future versions of the spec should be
> developed under the premise of "don't break the web" thereby making
> spec-version information in documents unnecessary*. If UA vendors really
> believe that author opt-in is needed for all UA changes (and Microsoft
> seem to be the only vendor advocating this position), the only solution
> I can see is to force authors to specify their opt-in to the bugs and
> features of a particular UA  using e.g. <meta name="ua-version"
> value="IE7"> to specify IE7+ should work in IE7 mode when rendering the
> document. It's ugly as hell but it has the one redeeming feature of
> actually solving the stated problem which adding spec-version
> information to documents does not.

As Chis has said this has the drawback that the default rendering will
be the buggy one in order to correctly render pages that were
developed with the previous version of the browser in mind, and it's
an ugly hack, but it does really address the problem at hand, and
that's the version of the browser and its bugs implementing the HTML
spec at hand, not the HTML itself.

If the newer versions of IE are released in a timely schedule (and not
every 6 years), then web authors will learn to follow the new
developments and will learn that the new versions are fixing old bugs,
so they have to keep an eye on it and use the newer features.

Regards and thank you very much for your message Chris.

Alfonso
Received on Thursday, 12 April 2007 20:24:38 UTC

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