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Re: "Pave The Cowpaths" Design Principle

From: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
Date: Tue, 15 May 2007 12:02:14 -0700
Message-ID: <464A03B6.1090604@sicking.cc>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
CC: Gervase Markham <gerv@mozilla.org>, public-html@w3.org, www-html@w3.org

>> The word "consider" is a bit weaselly, in that the above turns from a 
>> principle into a suggestion. Even without a principle, I'm sure we'd 
>> always _consider_ using the de facto solution. But how much weight do 
>> we put on the fact that it's the current de facto solution? I think 
>> that's the question people are struggling with.
> 
> The word "consider" is there because anything stronger, such as "must" 
> or "always", would be inappropriate. There are some nonstandard de facto 
> practices that *do* cause actual harm, or that are weaker than what can 
> be provided with a standards-based solution.
> 
> I think it is impossible to quantify how much weight, but I do think 
> there are some people who, at least before joining this group, would 
> have said that no weight should be given to any practice that is not 
> explicitly required by the last version of HTML.

+1 :)

What we could say is that current practices should be given as much 
weight as the HTML4 and SGML specs.

I'm sure I've said this tons of times before. But in situations like 
this I often think it's good to try to catch the majority of the 
functionality that people are using, but not drag along all of the 
quirks in the various implementations.

Both ignoring the cow paths as well as following them exactly in every 
quirky bend can be very harmful. The best solution is usually a golden 
middle. But these things have to be judged on a case by case basis so I 
don't know that we can specify it very strictly in the principles doc.

/ Jonas
Received on Tuesday, 15 May 2007 19:05:49 GMT

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