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Re: An HTML language specification

From: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Date: Sat, 15 Nov 2008 14:10:08 +0200
Cc: "Ian Hickson" <ian@hixie.ch>, public-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <35C0ACA4-A600-4220-9D34-21CE40993CF4@iki.fi>
To: Mark Baker <distobj@acm.org>

On Nov 14, 2008, at 20:42, Mark Baker wrote:

> I think we've had this discussion before 8-)
> As often happens, Roy says it better than I could;
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007Nov/0430.html

It seems to me that Web authors seek to elicit browser behaviors when  
they write HTML/CSS/JS. They don't just put abstract meaning out  
there. (In the common case; I'm sure you can show an existence proof  
of the opposite.) There are other kinds of Web clients, too, but  
generally people publish content primarily to enable people to access  
the content using browsers and the ability of other programs to  
consume the content is just a bonus. (Of course, there are exceptions:  
Certain types of black hat SEO target the behavior of search engines  
and the content doesn't need to be useful in a browser.)

I don't think it's useful to try to decouple "the language" from  
"browser behavior" normatively. However, I think that producers of  
HTML documents would benefit from an informative document that gives  
instruction on how to produce conforming HTML5 documents. That is, the  
following the guidance of the informative document should result in  
conforming documents but the guidance wouldn't need to give all the  
possible ways in which a document could be conforming.

I think we don't need a separate normative language spec but instead  
we need an informative authoring guide ("primer" in the W3C lingo,  
although that word isn't great in the title of a document aimed at  
global audiences). We already even have an editor (Lachy) signed up  
for the authoring guide.

Henri Sivonen
Received on Saturday, 15 November 2008 12:10:51 UTC

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