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Re: Is "breaking the Web" with HTML 5 a non issue?

From: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2008 03:53:17 +0200
Message-ID: <48D84C0D.8080006@malform.no>
To: Andrew Sidwell <w3c@andrewsidwell.co.uk>
CC: Justin James <j_james@mindspring.com>, public-html@w3.org

Andrew Sidwell 2008-09-22 18.47:

> In short, yes; the suggestion to junk backwards compatibility is the 
> polar opposite of how the spec (and the Web!) has been developed to 
> date.  HTML5 is a specification of how to handle text/html and 
> application/xhtml+xml documents, not how to handle a subset of text/html 
> with a certain magic string at the beginning.

Actually, the HTML 5 draft *is* about how to handle a subset of 
text/html. Allthough a very large subset of the Web.

The current approach is this: HTML 5 = the Web = HTML evaluated as 
a thing of its own: The Web language. Let's embrace the Web!

OTOH, it this approach is also used to narrow the scope: HTML 5 as 
a window to look at the Web through. Everything that falls outside 
the window is defined as "not the Web". This is the *new* thing 
with HTML 5, as opposed to the previos versions of HTML.

And it happens because HTML 5 goes on to define how UAs should 
react to things which are not defined inside HTML 5. Hence, 
currently, UAs are allowed to ignore @longdesc and @summary, for 
instance. (And the circle argument is: they are not [enough] in 
the Web today, either.)

The irony: HTML 5 is saying good bye to versioned HTML. At the 
same time, HTML 5 is the HTML which is supposed to "replace" all 
the old, which is a version feature ... So, when Ian and others 
say "you have to use HTML 4, if you want that", then they give 
contradictory advice, by proposing to code in a way that  - 
according to their plan - in the long term is becoming 
incomprencible and forreign to "the Web".

Ian a short while ago said: "It makes no sense for the spec to 
advise someone to not conform  to the specification." [1] Likewise 
it makes no sense advice to code according HTML 4, if HTML 4 is 
supposed to be interpreted as HTML 5.

With HTML 5, it is proposed that the message becomes: There are 
certain things of the past that UAs may forget. Thus HTML 5 
actually is locking things out of the Web. Actively so.

And this is why we are discussing so heavily.

[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2008Aug/0611.html
leif halvard silli
Received on Tuesday, 23 September 2008 01:54:00 UTC

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