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Re: Support Existing Content

From: T.V Raman <raman@google.com>
Date: Tue, 1 May 2007 09:05:58 -0700
Message-ID: <17975.25958.625930.95593@retriever.corp.google.com>
To: Philip-and-LeKhanh@Royal-Tunbridge-Wells.Org
Cc: mjs@apple.com, tina@greytower.net, P.Taylor@Rhul.Ac.Uk, public-html@w3.org



It's unfortunate to see the "people write messy content, we need
to display it" argument from the browser vendors turn into
"therefore, the language shall include  every possible
permutation of tag soup"
lead to the conclusion ""therefore, the language of the Web will
be a giant union of *everything*".

I believe the Web  needs and expects much more from this WG.

Documenting how today's browsers behave in the presence of
malformed content might well be  a worthy goal; but if its
preponderence leads us to lose sight of the bigger goal of
creating a Web language that in fact enables new browser
implementations to emerge over time, I think we would be
well-served by defining:

A)  A clean, lean language
B)  A mapping from today's mess to (A)



Philip & Le Khanh writes:
 > 
 > 
 > 
 > 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."

-- 
Best Regards,
--raman

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Received on Tuesday, 1 May 2007 16:07:25 UTC

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