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Re: legacy of incompetence? [was: a compromise to the versioning debate]

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2007 16:31:44 -0700
Message-Id: <028F799B-7E01-4FC2-8CE0-90EC0DC60AA7@apple.com>
Cc: "Dailey, David P." <david.dailey@sru.edu>, Alexander Graf <a.graf@aetherworld.org>, public-html@w3.org
To: "Preston L. Bannister" <preston@bannister.us>

On Apr 15, 2007, at 1:42 PM, Preston L. Bannister wrote:

> On 4/15/07, Dailey, David P. <david.dailey@sru.edu> wrote:
> [snip]
> I thought the WG charter had language running counter to this  
> perspective, but on reanalysis, the closest I could find was:
> The Group will define conformance and parsing requirements for  
> 'classic HTML', taking into account legacy implementations;
> It would be a bit of a stretch to claim this means we have to  
> support EVERY peculiar piece of HTML ever successfully rendered in  
> some browser.
>
> Speaking generally - seems there is a distinction that here that  
> needs to be made, clear to all involved, and muddies the discussion  
> when missed.
>
> One extreme interpretation of the proposed compatibility principles  
> is that HTML-next describes a parser and interpreter that can  
> handle any past W3C version or browser variant of HTML.  In this  
> case, version specifiers become unnecessary (and some of the prior  
> discussion makes more sense).

That is exactly the goal that is proposed for this group (although  
not all vendors may choose to take advantage of it).

>   This would require a painfully large specification, a modest  
> implementation effort for mainstream browser vendors, a large  
> effort for new browser implementations, and offer a very messy  
> model for someone trying to learn HTML.  Note that larger  
> specifications - just like larger programs - are more likely to  
> contain errors.
>
> I suspect most folk in this discussion are not assuming the above  
> extreme interpretation.

No, most folks *are* in fact assuming that interpretation.

> After writing the above, I would like to suggest another principle:
> The HTML-next specification should be as short as possible.
>
> Strictly speaking, "Don't Break the Web" is a non-issue.  Existing  
> web pages will be interpreted just as they are today.
> The HTML-next specification only applies when the HTML-next version  
> specifier is seen by the browser.  (Just like XHTML did so [cough]  
> successfully.)

Microsoft is the only browser vendor that has announced plans to do  
this. All browsers will, for example, parse and process HTML 3.2 or  
HTML 2.0 the exact same way as HTML 4.01 in quirks mode, and no  
browsers other than IE have announced plans to change that approach  
for HTML 5.

We'd like a single implementation that does not require mode-switches  
and which allows authors to incrementally make use of new features in  
existing content.

Regards,
Maciej
Received on Sunday, 15 April 2007 23:32:19 UTC

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