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Re: Revamp HTML5 doctype sniffing?

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Sun, 5 Apr 2009 09:23:32 +0000 (UTC)
To: public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0904050919590.25058@hixie.dreamhostps.com>
On Sun, 5 Apr 2009, Daniel Schattenkirchner wrote:
> Maybe my initial premise is wrong? Multiple browser modes are considered 
> harmful. I was under the impression, that it is in our interest, to 
> reduce the overload on the doctype switch when time allows us to do so.

The problem with the modes is their existence at all; unless we can get 
rid of a mode entirely, it doesn't really matter how many ways there are 
to trigger it. If there is even one way to trigger a mode, then we haven't 
gained anything by removing the number of ways it is triggered, since the 
cost is in testing the modes once they are triggered, not in testing the 
triggering mechanism itself (which ironically isn't affected by the number 
of modes or the number of ways they can be triggered).

> Documents without doctype will always trigger quirks mode. But in x 
> years, when HTML 5 is dominant, will it still be necessary to sniff for 
> doctypes whose documents use neither CSS nor tables?

Yes. While in X years we might see HTML5 be widely used, the content that 
exists today, all 1 trillion pages of it (or however many the estimates 
are these days) will still exist. Generally speaking, most pages aren't 
updated once they are written, so we can basically never remove support 
for anything that has been used.

> Of course, I see the need for consistency across browsers, but when half 
> of them already trigger almost standards mode for HTML 4.0 doctypes and 
> one of them will do so for at least another 10 years, does it really 
> make no sense to change the implementation of browsers that will 
> influence the web only 2-3 years in the worst case?

I don't understand what you mean.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Sunday, 5 April 2009 09:24:11 UTC

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