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Re: Comments on HTML WG face to face meetings in France Oct 08

From: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2008 10:12:42 -0500
Message-ID: <491D956A.9050403@mit.edu>
To: "Henry S. Thompson" <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk>
CC: public-html <public-html@w3.org>, www-tag@w3.org

Henry S. Thompson wrote:
> Not sure I understand.  The XML spec. only mentions media types in
> passing in its discussion of (natural) language and encoding
> determination.  It defines well-formedness (in general) and validity
> (wrt a DTD).
> 
> An example of what you have in mind would help.

Sure.  Here's an example:

   data:text/xml,<?xml-stylesheet 
href="data:text/css,*{font-weight:bold}"?><root>text <outer>outer 
<inner>inner</outer>

Try loading that in your favorite browsers and seeing what happens. 
Note that some of them display some bold text, while others do not. 
This is because the XML specification _does_ say that this document is 
invalid (that is not XML), but _doesn't_ say that this means you can't 
process it and _doesn't_ specify the error handling other than saying 
that processing of things after the error needs to be aborted.

The text/xml part is not important here except insofar as it triggers an 
XML parser in browsers.  The key is that a priori any XML parser can 
take an arbitrary character input stream and does _something_ with it. 
What the something is happens to be underdefined, with a good bit of 
leeway as to what it actually is.

If you think that would be a good state for HTML to be in, I beg to 
disagree.  Underdefined behavior is bad.

-Boris
Received on Friday, 14 November 2008 15:13:35 GMT

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