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RE: Versioning and html[5]

From: Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2007 10:54:25 -0700
To: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>
CC: "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <5C276AFCCD083E4F94BD5C2DA883F05A27D71926D1@tk5-exmlt-w600.wingroup.windeploy.ntdev.microsoft.com>

Boris Zbarsky [mailto:bzbarsky@MIT.EDU] wrote:
>Chris, my point was that things are not black and white here.  It's not
>the case that any change you make would break a large number of sites.
>For example, if current IE behavior given a certain input is to crash,
>then it seems likely that you can change that aspect of IE behavior
>without breaking sites.

No one expects crashes.  On the other hand, a bunch of people did expect that we didn't implement child selectors in CSS.  A bunch of people did expect that we didn't understand how overflow is supposed to work.

>The exact definition of what constitutes a corner case is in the
>eyes of the beholder, of course.

I believe you're saying the definition of what constitutes a corner case is in the hands of the WG.  We (Microsoft) have to be in control of our own destiny there.  Unless you're suggesting that the WG would shoulder the financial burden when we (Microsoft) are sued because we broke compatibility and caused some company's multi-million-dollar intranet app to break.

>Please let me know if we are in fundamental disagreement at this point;
>if we are, then what I say in the next two paragraphs is not that
>meaningful.

I think we are in practical disagreement, not fundamental.

>If we agree so far, then in practice the question that must be asked of
>any change is how many sites would actually be affected and how much
>they would be affected.  I can accept that you consider 1% of sites as
>too many to break; I would probably agree with that, personally.  At the
>same time, you may consider a single MySpace page (or page whose purpose
>is to exploit a security hole, say) being OK to break.  Somewhere
>between those is a fuzzy band where a hard decision would need to be made.

Pull "exploiting a security hole" out of the equation.  Crashing and real-world security trump compatibility.

A single MySpace page?  Hmm, probably no big deal.  A single government who locks us out of their market because we broke their intranet app (even if they were ua-switching and giving us bad content, and it was "clearly their fault")?  Probably a very big deal.  The real problem with this, as we have discovered it particularly with IE7, is that we have no idea how bad the real-world problem is until we ship, given the amount of content in intranets.

>I realize that answering the "how many sites depend on this?" question
>is difficult.  I believe Ian has been doing some research on this sort
>of question as he edited the WHATWG spec, and this working group should
>consider adopting a similar approach.

I cannot trust Ian's, or anyone else's, research or answers on this.  Microsoft will bear the financial and logistic responsibility for breaking.

>> Because I think we would eventually realize we'd broken something,
>> and then we'd re-introduce version numbers, and the progress of HTML
>> would look like this:
>
>Just to make sure we're on the same page, is the "we" here this working
>group, or an implementor?  Or either one?

"We" was intended to mean the working group.

-Chris
Received on Friday, 13 April 2007 17:54:33 GMT

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