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Re: let authors choose text/html or application/xhtml+xml (detailed review of section 1. Introduction)

From: Robert Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 12:03:52 -0500
Message-Id: <79B10E58-AA0E-4FD8-9260-58D041E87FDD@robburns.com>
Cc: Dean Edridge <dean@55.co.nz>, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, "public-html@w3.org WG" <public-html@w3.org>
To: "Philip Taylor (Webmaster)" <P.Taylor@Rhul.Ac.Uk>

Hi PHil,

On Aug 31, 2007, at 11:13 AM, Philip Taylor (Webmaster) wrote:

> Robert Burns wrote:
>
>>> That's right, because of this millions of people out there are  
>>> thinking that there web documents are valid XHTML, but they're  
>>> not, they are in fact invalid HTML.
>> They are often valid XHTML. Many who make use of XHTML have a  
>> stronger tendency to use validators too. You may be right that  
>> these files may not validate as HTML too. But then again any  
>> document that uses EMBED will not validate as HTML. Clearly  
>> browsers use a different notion of "valid HTML ' than the  
>> validators do. That's a problem that could be easily fixed by  
>> making an HTML 4.02 DTD that includes EMBED and disabled nulll end  
>> tags. Voila! Now all of the invalid XHTML-like HTML files suddenly  
>> becomes valid HTML.
>
> No, they don't, because they still commence with a pre-HTML 4.02  
> DOCTYPE :-(

Yeah, I thought of the DocType declaration as I wrote that, but  
didn't think it worth mentioning. So consider it valid HTML 4.02 or  
valid XHTML1 with simply a DocType declaration change.

> Although you and I agree on many things, this is one area over which
> we differ.  For years, people have sent bug reports to the validator
> team, saying (in effect) "my document displays perfectly in IE /  
> Mozilla /
> Opera  / w-h-y, yet your validator keeps claiming it is faulty.  Why
> can't you fix your validator ?", to which the validator team, politely
> but firmly, reply "Your document is /invalid/, that is why the
> validator tells you it is faulty.  You need to fix your document
> rather than us "fixing" the validator".  Now this whole HTML 5  
> exercise
> is seeking to turn that situation on its head, and to re-define  
> "valid"
> as "works inter-operably across the major browsers", tweaking and
> adjusting the HTML 5 specification until that end is accomplished.
> I am very much afraid that, if this succeeds, the W3C will lose any
> last vestige of credibility, and all those who have claimed that
> their documents were valid (when they were, in fact, bug-ridden)
> will trumpet loudly "We were right, you were wrong : na na nee na na".

I still don't understand how we disagree here. For any specification  
the issue of what is or is not valid has to be a part of the  
conversation. Disabling null end tags in a hypothetical HTML 4.02 DTD  
makes the use of <br /> valid HTML 4.02 (and valid SGML). It's also  
already valid XHTML 1. So I'm not sure where we have a disagreement  
here. Are you just saying you don't want null end tags disabled in  
HTML? Then that's just another part of the language that we discuss,  
deliberate and work out (the same as deciding whether it should have  
a P element).

That is a very different issue of specifying UA conformance that  
decides how to handle errors. The difficulty there lies in the fact  
that we already have several widely deployed implementations that all  
differ in subtle and not-so-subtle ways in how they handle and repair  
errors in HTML documents.. Again though, my understanding is that  
SGML itself says nothing about error-handling. So in that respect  
what HTML5 proposes to do is not even as contrary to  SGML as some  
might conceive it.

Take care,
Rob
Received on Friday, 31 August 2007 17:04:10 GMT

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