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RE: HTML Action Item 54 - ...draft text for HTML 5 spec to require producers/authors to include @alt on img elements.

From: Frederico Caldeira Knabben <fredck@fckeditor.net>
Date: Wed, 14 May 2008 13:20:01 +0200
To: "'Justin James'" <j_james@mindspring.com>, <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <DB8F564480CC4A5BB1493C1442AFE1AC@fredcknote>

> The fact is, FCK Editor (and many other tools, both within Web apps
> and not) have been producing obsolete and invalid HTML for quite
> some time; in this case, <font> has been obsolete
> for 7 or 8 years before your tools finally stopped using it.

The problem we had in the past (and still today) is that browsers came with
the promise that everybody would be able to "make your editor at home",
which is a good thing in JavaScript, where less code is better, due to
parsing and execution performance, as well as download times impact. Just
call your preferred execCommand command and the magic is done.

We were able to fix this problem in FCKeditor, with some huge and extremely
complex coding, because we understood that browser promises are good only on
fairy tales. Hopefully new standards will be able to definitely fix it, in
the far away future, though.

> So, from your perspective (using your parenthesis on my inappropriate
> comment as a springboard), what can we do to help you make a tool that
> works better?

The key problem in HTML5 is that all editing standards are being based on
the initial proposal we had for it, introduced with IE4 more than 10 years
ago. MS did a nice job that time, but we have to agree that JavaScript and
the browsers' technology have nothing to do with that anymore.

Then, Mozilla simply followed MS steps by introducing a system that was more
or less compatible with the original MS system. But, Mozilla's solution had
some small differences that made/makes content interoperability broken, like
additional commands, different command behaviors and different keystroke
commands support.

Recently, Opera and Safari followed Mozilla steps, introducing the same set
of features defined by MS "standards", including of course even more
troubles. Opera tried to reflect the MS behavior, while WebKit introduced it
own way of doing things.

I understand that new standards are being written with backward
compatibility in mind, but in few words: *all editing features in the new
HTML 5 specs are based on outdated technology*. The execCommand and all
queryCommand* functions are to be forgotten, and rewritten from scratch. In
the specs, you can find things like "queryCommandIndeterm", which no one can
explain but are present in the original MS proposal.

Another good example, today we have the following results for
execCommand('bold'):

 - IE and Opera: <strong>
 - Firefox: <b>
 - Safari: <span style="font-weight:bold">

A complete chaos! Content produced with one browser is not compatible with
others. And how can we point the correct behavior for it? Only the end user
can tell if s/he wanted <strong> or <b>. So, execCommand('bold') is simply
senseless, and no specs could make it have any sense.

In the specs, things like...
 	
	"...as defined by the UA" 

	"The em element should be used only if the user agent is sure that
the user means to indicate stress emphasis" (mind reading?) 

	"The exact behavior is UA-dependent"

.... make the whole specs worthless. There are specifications being proposed,
but it is well know that they don't fit all cases, so holes are being left
open to satisfy all needs.

Also, this is the first time that editing features are being proposed as W3C
specs. So, there is no backward compatibility with previous standards. All
we have is a common set of features delivered by all browsers, which have
proved to be bad; otherwise we would not have such discussions.

Anyway, these parenthesis are already getting too big inside this thread.
Probably dedicated discussions should be opened for it. While I'm not really
able to write down precise specs proposals, due to the work overload here,
be sure I'm ready to discuss about this whole thing, sharing the experience
we have had during the last 5 years with FCKeditor.

I hope all that makes sense.

Fred

Frederico Caldeira Knabben
Project Manager, FCKeditor
----
http://www.fckeditor.net

 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Justin James [mailto:j_james@mindspring.com]
> Sent: 13 May 2008 17:56
> To: 'Frederico Caldeira Knabben'; public-html@w3.org
> Subject: RE: HTML Action Item 54 - ...draft text for HTML 5 spec to
> require producers/authors to include @alt on img elements.
> 
> Frederico -
> 
> You are right, and I apologize; I should not have called FCK Editor a
> "garbage tool". The tool itself seems fairly decent considering the
> constraints it operates within (namely, client side code in a Web browser
> that seems to work fine in all browsers, no small feat). A better phrasing
> that more accurately reflects my thoughts and intentions would have been
> "tools like FCK Editor that produce poor HTML". The fact is, FCK Editor
> (and
> many other tools, both within Web apps and not) have been producing
> obsolete
> and invalid HTML for quite some time; in this case, <font> has been
> obsolete
> for 7 or 8 years before your tools finally stopped using it. While your
> message clearly shows the technical reasons behind this, it really
> highlights the problem that we have here. FCK Editor is probably
> responsible
> for more HTML generation in a week or two than every plain text editor on
> the planet in a year. So when it (or any other tool) produces HTML that
> doesn't meet the spec, there is a problem.
> 
> In this case, you cite a technical hurdle as being the cause of the bad
> HTML. But overall, what can we do to change the HTML spec so that it is
> easier for tool creators to write tools that adhere to it? Simply put, if
> the people working on tools cannot (or will not) produce tools that
> generate
> not just syntactically correct, but really good HTML, then the HTML spec
> is
> only aimed at the few who hand edit, which is not an acceptable situation.
> 
> So, from your perspective (using your parenthesis on my inappropriate
> comment as a springboard), what can we do to help you make a tool that
> works
> better?
> 
> J.Ja
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: public-html-request@w3.org [mailto:public-html-request@w3.org] On
> Behalf Of Frederico Caldeira Knabben
> Sent: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 5:41 AM
> To: public-html@w3.org
> Cc: j_james@mindspring.com
> Subject: RE: HTML Action Item 54 - ...draft text for HTML 5 spec to
> require
> producers/authors to include @alt on img elements.
> 
> 
> Sorry for opening parenthesis on this discussion. I just want to give a
> bit
> more precision over Justin's comments. People out there take public
> conversations as sacrosanct references, and so it is important to take
> good
> care when we are talking openly.
> 
> Let me take the relevant bytes from Justin's text:
> 
> > The problem is garbage tools like FCK Editor that still use <font>
> 
> This phrase, other than being outdated, is offensive. It just throws away
> all the hard work we are doing behind FCKeditor. The exact same thing can
> be
> said in other ways. But this is irrelevant, anyway.
> 
> The fact is that browsers based text editors, as the name says, use
> browser
> features to execute editing operations, include formatting. The well
> know/unknown execCommand function. The problem is that browsers, not all
> of
> them, use <font> tags for many commands available for that function,
> including font face, size and color. So, first of all, let's point the
> finger to the right place.
> 
> During the last year, we've decided abandoning the execCommand function
> because of such problems, providing also consistency among all browsers.
> The
> result of it has been released with FCKeditor 2.5, published on November
> 2007 (6 months ago). Just try our online demo... no <font> tags there:
> http://www.fckeditor.net/demo
> 
> Also, with FCKeditor you can achieve unique things, like the following:
> http://www.fckeditor.net/nightly/fckeditor/_samples/html/sample14.html
> 
> In the above sample, almost everything is done with CSS classes, including
> font attributes, colors and alignments.
> 
> Anyway... just tried to give a bit more info, and underline that words can
> easily kill things in this world wide open web.
> 
> Closing the parenthesis.
> 
> Frederico Caldeira Knabben
> Project Manager, FCKeditor
> ----
> http://www.fckeditor.net
> 
> 
> 
> 
Received on Wednesday, 14 May 2008 11:21:48 GMT

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