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Re: Support Existing Content (was: Proposed Design Principles review)

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2007 16:09:26 -0700
Message-Id: <81C103AE-A385-428B-B7B7-690B8582AE3B@apple.com>
Cc: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
To: Murray Maloney <murray@muzmo.com>


On Apr 28, 2007, at 12:13 PM, Murray Maloney wrote:

>
> At 08:08 AM 4/28/2007 -0700, Preston L. Bannister wrote:
>> Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>> > I renamed this principle to "Support Existing Content". Here is  
>> the new text:
>> >
>> > SupportExistingContent: Browsers implementing the new version of  
>> HTML
>> > should still be able to handle existing content. Ideally, it  
>> should be
>> > possible to process web documents and applications via an HTML5
>> > implementation even if they were authored against older  
>> implementations
>> > and do not specifically request HTML5 processing.
>>
>> This re-statement is much improved over the prior, BTW.
>
> The problem with this statement is that it is not a Language Design  
> Principle.
> It is a User Agent Design Principle. I would feel more comfortable  
> if you
> would label it as a User Agent Design Principle.

I agree the POV seems off. However, this principle has very important  
implications for language design. How about like this:

Support Existing Content

SupportExistingContent: HTML5 should be designed so that user agents  
conforming to it can still handle existing web content as intended.  
In particular HTML5 should make it possible to process web documents  
and applications via an HTML5 implementation even if they were  
authored against older implementations and do not specifically  
request HTML5 processing.

All changes and additions could cause some content to malfunction at  
least in theory, but this will vary in degree. We need to judge  
whether the value of the change is worth the cost. Cross-browser  
content on the public Web should be given the most weight.


Regards,
Maciej

>
> I think that a Language Design Principle could be something like  
> the following:
>
> SupportExistingContent: The HTML WG will document the usage of HTML
> as it is practiced by popular web browers, and deployed on the web  
> and on
> intranets throughout the world. Our goal should be to facilitate  
> understanding
> of extant content, even in the face of unusual and unexpected  
> syntax or position.
> If any user agent is capable of an understanding an HTML construct,  
> it would
> be ideal for all user agents to be capable of that understanding.
>
> The effect would be that HTML V5 becomes the sum of HTML V*
>
>
>
Received on Saturday, 28 April 2007 23:10:10 GMT

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