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

From: James Graham <jg307@cam.ac.uk>
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2007 17:59:28 +0100
Message-ID: <46362070.4020503@cam.ac.uk>
To: Murray Maloney <murray@muzmo.com>
CC: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>

Murray Maloney wrote:

> So, I may be alone -- consider this a cry in the dark -- but I still 
> don't think
> that the browser should define HTML. That was the POV that was pomulgated
> by Mosaic and Netscape developers back in 1994. I didn't buy it then and I
> don't buy it now. HTML is more than what the browser guys say it is.

Speccing how browsers should behave in a way that makes them interoperable is a 
*help* to people who want to do something other than render HTML to a 
desktop-sized graphical display device. At the moment there are four major 
browsers with four slightly different sets of quirks in areas where HTML has 
traditionally been underspecified (e.g. handling misnested tags). Therefore when 
authors check their code (i.e. load it into a high-marketshare graphical browser 
and check the rendering) there's no way to know how any other UA will handle 
that content. By defining the behaviour of browsers we can change that and so 
help low-marketshare UAs (e.g. speech, tactile, etc. browsers) deal with HTML 
documents in a more robust way that is idential to the UAs in which the content 
is likely to be tested. This methodology is optimised for success in the real 
world where sites are deemed done when they work in graphical UAs with more than 
a total X% of the market (where X is typically ~95), rather than in an 
non-existant ideal world where every document is totally compliant with the 
browser spec and tested over multiple media before being deployed.

But I have a feeling that I'm not understanding you. To me "support existing 
content" is a synonym for "have HTML5 implemented" (since no browser will 
implement significant compatbility-breaking changes). I can't believe that you 
are here to work on a document format that no one will use, so I must be missing 
something...

-- 
"Eternity's a terrible thought. I mean, where's it all going to end?"
  -- Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Received on Monday, 30 April 2007 17:00:54 UTC

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