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

Re: Support Existing Content

From: Gareth Hay <gazhay@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 5 May 2007 12:05:56 +0100
Message-Id: <F22D5FEA-B4F4-4535-A13F-600CDF7681ED@gmail.com>
Cc: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, matt@builtfromsource.com, public-html@w3.org
To: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>

On 5 May 2007, at 05:17, Jonas Sicking wrote:

> The idea is to make the error handling specified by the spec such  
> that if you feed todays web content to a HTML5 parser, you'll get  
> something that is close enough to what browsers to today that very  
> few pages would break.
>
> One thing that I think is important to point out is this:
>
> I do agree that if we had draconian error handling that would  
> eventually produce cleaner markup. Content written in languages  
> that have draconian error handling, such as XML and C, have much  
> fewer errors than content written in todays HTML and the HTML5  
> suggested by the current draft. And such content would probably  
> work better across multiple browsers.
>
> However, another effect of draconian error handling is that a lot  
> fewer people are able to produce content in the language. There are  
> much fewer people in the world that write XML and C than there are  
> people that write HTML. One of the reasons for the success of the  
> internet is the simplicity of producing HTML content.
> Javascript was designed with exactly this issue in mind, it should  
> be easy to produce content for. You can also note that javascript  
> has much less draconian error handling than C and that there are a  
> lot more authors of javascript code than C code.
>
I don't think this is the case at all. As there would be fewer ways  
to incorrectly do things, and a defined correct way, it will be / 
easier/ to learn.
No more learning conditional comments, no more having to remember how  
to do things in 5 different browsers.

I can't agree with any statement that says Javascript is /easy/ to  
learn and C is not. It's simply not the case, and the two are so  
similar that the statement simply doesn't hold up.

> I don't think the english example that has been brought up  
> elsewhere is a bad example at all. If we demanded that english was  
> spoken with perfect grammar, there would be a lot fewer people  
> producing english content (i.e. speaking english).
>

I think you should re-read Tina's responses to this example.

> While some people would learn how to write proper HTML5 with  
> draconian error handling, a lot of people would simply give up and  
> we'd have much fewer people producing content for the web. And IMHO  
> the strength of the web is not the fact that you can make flashy  
> pages will nice CSS layout. It's that there's a lot of people  
> producing a lot of content for it.
>
Although this is covering old ground /again/.

1) New web author - well defined spec with /the/ correct way to do  
things. Learns it as it doesn't work if s/he doesn't adhere to it.
2) Existing author - well defined spec available, learn it, produce  
good pages, don't learn it, keep using html4.
3) Lazy author - keep using html4

In any case, anyone is till free to use (and or learn) html4 and use  
that. So in the library example, if someone writes a book in old  
anglo-saxon english, we still accept it, and we'll loan it out if  
someone wants it, but we prefer people to use modern day english.
(Though I'm not a fan of this example)

We /have/ to keep in mind the aim is communication, humans are very  
adept at error recovery in communication, computers aren't, we can't  
possibly program for every possible situation and how to handle  
errors for it.

> So while I agree there are advantages with draconian error  
> handling, I think the disadvantage is much much greater.
>
> Hope that helps you understand my point of view.

I'm sorry for re-entering a debate I said I was finished with.

Gaz
Received on Saturday, 5 May 2007 11:06:04 GMT

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