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

Re: Support Existing Content

From: David Hyatt <hyatt@apple.com>
Date: Fri, 4 May 2007 16:29:58 -0700
Message-Id: <22583861-9DCA-40EA-BBCB-9D79686AFFFE@apple.com>
Cc: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, Jeff Schiller <codedread@gmail.com>, Gareth Hay <gazhay@gmail.com>, James Graham <jg307@cam.ac.uk>, "matt@builtfromsource.com" <matt@builtfromsource.com>, "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
To: Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>

On May 4, 2007, at 4:04 PM, Chris Wilson wrote:

>
> Before I respond to this thread, I want to clarify two things:
> 1) I'm not arguing for or against draconian error handling.  I  
> think it has a place (XML), I understand the drawbacks (Maciej laid  
> out the main ones quite well).
> 2) I have a tremendous amount of respect for Maciej, and the others  
> who've been espousing defining exhaustive error-handling behavior  
> in the spec.
>
> Maciej Stachowiak [mailto:mjs@apple.com] wrote:
>> The spec describes what to do with every possible stream of input
>> characters.
>
> This seems like an unimaginably arrogant statement to me.  (Now you  
> know why I said the above first.  :) )
>

I think you may be misreading what Maciej was saying.  Note that  
nobody is saying that the spec will manage to define all error  
handling cases unambiguously.  That is obviously impossible.   
However, trying to define as much as possible helps browsers converge  
on interoperability.  Will we ever hit 100%?  No.  It's not arrogant  
however to presume that we can do far better than we have so far.

This is true not only of error handling cases but also for areas of  
HTML that are currently ambiguous.

A great example of forward progress in this area is CSS.  CSS2.1 has  
(through the painstaking efforts of the CSS WG) clearly defined many  
more areas of CSS that were ambiguous or unclear in CSS2.0.  As a  
result, Firefox, Opera and Safari have achieved much greater  
interoperability by contributing to this spec effort and to  
implementing the changes in the spec.

Just because an HTML specification has no hope of specifying complete  
error handling does not mean that we should give up and not attempt  
to specify anything at all.  It is definitely possible (and  
implementations have demonstrated this) to be much more interoperable  
on invalid HTML, since a lot of the common mistakes can at least have  
well-defined rules.

dave
(hyatt@apple.com)
Received on Friday, 4 May 2007 23:30:36 UTC

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