W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > February 2009

Re: "downplayed errors"

From: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2009 10:55:19 +0200
Cc: "Ian Hickson" <ian@hixie.ch>, "HTML WG" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-Id: <DEB9E773-E9C6-48F2-9696-D78572FB5ED1@iki.fi>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>

On Feb 5, 2009, at 11:44, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:

> A partial approach is to provide a document like Mike's, which says  
> "as an author, use this stuff and you will be fine (but note that  
> you may meet other stuff, and the main spec normatively defines what  
> to do with it", along with the spec that says "all of this other  
> stuff might appear and here is what to do with it".

 From the point of view of a validator developer, placing stuff into  
another document doesn't help, since the validator developer still  
needs to understand what the specs made conforming and what non- 

> An alternative approach is to stick with HTML 4's notion of  
> deprecating things, but make it a requirement that anything  
> deprecated include an explanation of what should be done instead -  
> which allows validators to have warnings ("this thing is no longer  
> the technique du jour - you may want to try XYZ which is what all  
> the cool cats do these days...") as well as errors.

Validators can already issue warnings for anything that the developer  
of the validator thinks is appropriate and the users of the validator  
accept without changing validation providers.

 From my point of view as a validator developer, it would be easier to  
assess opinions formulated in terms of "a validator must report  
condition foo as an error" or "foo is non-conforming" rather than  
formulating things in terms of deprecation, since it seems that people  
have a different idea of what functional requirements on validators  
deprecation entails.

In the case of HTML 4.01, deprecation meant the creation of two  
distinct validation targets: Transitional and Strict. Experience with  
HTML 4.01 shows that authors prefer the more permissive target. For  
HTML5, I'd like to avoid the introduction of multiple validation  
targets if feasible even if that meant making the one target lenient  
about stuff like <img border=0> and <applet>.

(To be clear, <basefont> and the axis attribute are not the same kind  
of stuff as <img border=0> and <applet>. :-)

Henri Sivonen
Received on Friday, 6 February 2009 08:56:01 UTC

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