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

From: Henk-Jan de Boer <html-wg@hjdeboer.nl>
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2007 23:01:49 +0200
Message-ID: <4623E43D.6080402@hjdeboer.nl>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
CC: "Preston L. Bannister" <preston@bannister.us>, "Dailey, David P." <david.dailey@sru.edu>, Alexander Graf <a.graf@aetherworld.org>, public-html@w3.org

If that is to be the planned implementation route for Apple, Opera and 
Mozilla, wouldn't postponing the decision on versioning be the best 
compromise to this versioning debate at the moment? Is it unrealistic to 
say: let Safari, Opera and Mozilla implement the spec and let them prove 
that it's useful for rendering legacy HTML? That proof should convince 
Microsoft in the end, shouldn't it?

I get the feeling that Microsoft tries to keep a back door open with 
proposing versioning, simply because the don't really believe that HTML5 
will be fully backwards compatible for IE (that is, compatible with all 
or at least nearly all content that relies on their old bugs), while 
others simply state that it should be possible. Wouldn't it be better to 
pick up the versioning debate later on, when Apple, Opera and Mozilla 
can claim that HTML5 is fully backwards compatible with existing content?

Is further development and implementation without a decision on 
versioning possible? If yes, shouldn't we all work on being as much 
backwards compatible as possible and let the practical outcome decide 
the versioning debate in a few years? Then, the outcome of the 
versioning debate IMHO should be of no effect to the development of the 
spec, based on WHATWG's HTML5 working draft and the proposed design 
principles, should it? Moreover, the outcome of the way HTML5 is being 
developed and implemented, will affect the choice whether to add 
versioning or not, I guess.

Or am I being naive and would my view of things frustrate implementation 
or even, would implementation and testing be impossible without a 
decision on what doctype to use (or other identifiers on which a version 
switch could be based)? I cannot really judge what the implications are, 
but still wanted to add this extra 'compromise' to the discussion, even 
though I might be terribly wrong in my assumptions.

Kind regards,
H.J. de Boer


Maciej Stachowiak schreef op 16-4-2007 6:44:
> The IE folks do not want to use the HTML5 spec for content that 
> declares earlier versions of HTML. But I believe that, at least 
> provisionally, Safari, Opera and Mozilla plan to do this. I trust that 
> if any of us run into serious compatibility issues, we would report 
> them back to the working group and lobby for a spec change.
Received on Tuesday, 17 April 2007 13:15:48 UTC

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