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

Re: Support Existing Content

From: Philip & Le Khanh <Philip-and-LeKhanh@Royal-Tunbridge-Wells.Org>
Date: Tue, 01 May 2007 00:56:28 +0100
Message-ID: <4636822C.4020008@Royal-Tunbridge-Wells.Org>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
CC: tina@greytower.net, "Philip Taylor (Webmaster)" <P.Taylor@Rhul.Ac.Uk>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>



Maciej Stachowiak wrote:

> Philip said, and I quote: "The W3C should define HTML, and browser 
> manufacturers should be willing to accept that definition (or to reject 
> it, at their own risk: this is a free world)." That does not sound like 
> constructive engagement to me. It sounds like he thinks the spec should 
> be defined in a way that ignores or overrides implementor input, and 
> then the implementors need to suck it up. I sense an undertone of 
> resentment against browsers in all this. My apologies to Philip if I 
> have misunderstood him.

Neither "ignores" nor "overrides", and equally not "blindly
accepts", but rather "considers" in the light of other input,
then rules accordingly.  The W3C /is/ the web standards authority,
and it is their responsibility to ensure that any standards published
in their name reflect the very best available received wisdom.
Until very recently, there was more-or-less universal consensus that
HTML was a Document Markup Language whose sole r\^ole was to
indicate a document's structure.  The rendering of that structure
was the browser's task, and that rendering could be modified
by the use of style sheets.  This consensus did not come about
by chance : rather it was the result of years of observation
of the mess that resulted if one tried to use HTML both to
indicate structure and to affect form.  Now, for reasons that
I do not pretend to understand, the W3C seem to be bowing to
pressure from the very same group (not of individuals, but of
?vested? interests) that created the mess in the first place,
by which I mean the browser implementors.  Remember that it
was they (Microsoft, Netscape et al) that led to the bloated language
that was HTML 3.2; now, with HTML 4.01 Strict already pointing
the way to a leaner, cleaner, language, once again the browser
implementors are seeking to re-introduce language bloat.  But
this time they are doing so in a way that is far harder for the
W3C to resist : rather than each going his/her own way, they are
actively working /with/ each other to either retain a feature
that has already been formally deprecated, or to define a new set
of  "added value" elements; and whenever one of these is called
into question, they defend its retention/introduction by screaming
"interoperability" or "compatibility with the web".  But
"interoperability" as they are choosing to define it is
exactly the same as the boy with the football : it's his
ball, so he decides who plays and to which rules.  And
as Tina has frequently pointed out, "compatibility with
the web" simply means accepting that virtually all the
tag soup that has been churned out in the past is, in
fact, "valid HTML", so long as you are willing to redefine
"valid" using Humpty Dumpty's definition [*].

Philip Taylor
--------
[*] "`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather
       a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it
       to mean -- neither more nor less."
Received on Monday, 30 April 2007 23:56:31 GMT

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