W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > April 2007

Re: A Compromise to the Versioning Debate

From: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2007 21:15:34 +0300
Message-Id: <CBCD31A3-6011-4BE5-B41D-54DE0EB85A64@iki.fi>
Cc: public-html@w3.org
To: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>

On Apr 15, 2007, at 09:20, Lachlan Hunt wrote:
>
> Plenty of authors have enough trouble trying to understand why  
> changing or removing the DOCTYPE can result in completely different  
> rendering and behaviour of scripts, and that won't be improved by  
> introducing more modes.

Indeed, but the conclusion I draw is that on the scale of the Web,  
you shouldn't assume competence or rational opt-in decision making.

> Give authors the choice.  Let those authors who wish to lock  
> themselves into a particular IE-frozen-bug-state specifically opt- 
> in to using that version.  But let the rest of us who want to make  
> an informed decision to always use the *latest* standards mode do so.

This may sound awfully elitist of me, but I don't think authors in  
general are competent to make that choice. Therefore, considering  
that the approach of freezing bug sets is bad as seen with Word  
processors, we should work towards giving authors no choice but to  
live with browsers fixing bugs. Authors need to get the feeling that  
all browsers are thawed and lose bugs reasonably often. That is, the  
real fix I see in building a perception that bugs are unstable.

> Make <!DOCTYPE html> *always* trigger the latest standards mode,  
> unless accompanied by an explicit switch.
>
> e.g.
>
> <!DOCTYPE html>
> <!--[mode = IE8]-->
> <html>
> ...
>
> It doesn't really matter what syntax you use for it.

It sure does. If Microsoft insists on more switches, the sane way is  
to use an attribute on the root element as it survives through  
various XML APIs. I have been involved in hacking a SAX-based tool to  
preserve (against my explicit advice) IE6 quirks modeness in XHTML  
served as text/html. (The XML decl thing.) It was ugly.

> We are competent enough to make informed decisions for ourselves,  
> so let us do so.

You (Lachlan) may be but you (authors) aren't.

-- 
Henri Sivonen
hsivonen@iki.fi
http://hsivonen.iki.fi/
Received on Sunday, 15 April 2007 18:15:47 UTC

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