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

Re: Support Existing Content

From: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
Date: Thu, 03 May 2007 14:24:47 -0700
Message-ID: <463A531F.3080809@sicking.cc>
To: Gareth Hay <gazhay@gmail.com>
CC: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, matt@builtfromsource.com, public-html@w3.org

Gareth Hay wrote:
> 
> 
> On 3 May 2007, at 18:07, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> 
>>
>> On May 2, 2007, at 2:10 PM, Gareth Hay wrote:
>>
>>> I'm not trying to make lives easier on any side.
>>> The web is a mess, even you concede this point with your rantings 
>>> about external advertising content.
>>> Do you want it to continue like this? or do you want to pro-actively 
>>> fix it?
>>
>> What's the point of "fixing the web" if it doesn't make anyone's lives 
>> easier? This is a totally serious question - a lot of people seem to 
>> be advocating the forcing of valid markup regardless of whether it 
>> helps or hurts people. Surely the reason for abstract goals like use 
>> of conforming markup is to have good concrete effects.
>>
> It only hurts the lazy, or the uneducated author. Either can change easily.
> I'm not advocating we make HTML rocket science or brain surgery, it 
> doesn't have to be hard, at the moment it /is/ hard because it id 
> broken, new authors find broken ways of doing things and see nothing 
> wrong "because it works".

These are the arguments against "draconian errorhandling" that I can see:

1.
If we're making something that is that backwards incompatible, why not 
instead go all the way and do something like XHTML2 that is a completely 
new language. That way we could get rid of tags that we're only keeping 
around for backwards compatibility anyway.
And at that point we might as well also use XML rather than create a new 
language that needs a parser written for it. Most UAs need an XML parser 
anyway.

2.
It's hard for authors to get things perfect. Writing bug free code has 
nothing to do with being lazy or uninformed. When did you ever run into 
a bugfree software program? If you want to generate something with as 
strict parsing rules as that you probably want to write code that 
provably creates good output. The only way I can think of to do that 
would be to let servers generate DOM-like data structures that then gets 
serialized before sent over the wire.
While this sounds like a good design to me, it would be a big change 
from how servers work today and would significantly raise the bar for 
adopting HTML5 for authors.

3.
The "cleanup" of the web it would accomplish is actually fairly small. 
Most quirks and inconsistencies is in how things behave after they have 
been parsed. The biggest one is in how things are rendered, but also in 
how the DOM behaves.
And while there is some value for UA developers since they'd have an 
easier time writing the parser, I see little to no value for web authors 
over having relaxed, but consistent, error handling in the various browsers.


The result is that the price you pay for such strict error handling (1 
and 2) is very high, while the value you get (3) is pretty small.

/ Jonas
Received on Thursday, 3 May 2007 21:27:16 UTC

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