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Re: ISSUE-54: doctype-legacy-compat

From: Robin Berjon <robin@berjon.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2009 13:03:52 +0100
Cc: Sam Ruby <rubys@us.ibm.com>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-Id: <B7627C83-F5CD-4AC5-B6AC-E101CBABDC22@berjon.com>
To: Philip TAYLOR <chaa006@gmail.com>

Hi Philip,

On Jan 20, 2009, at 12:35 , Philip TAYLOR wrote:
> By so doing, this would ensure that when the specification
> is revised following its formal publication (as it surely
> will be), documents authored against the revised specification
> will be able to indicate this through their DOCTYPE, thereby
> ensuring that a validator is able to identify the correct version
> of the specification against which to check conformity.

As I understand it, your objection is entirely built on top of the  
notion that it is better for a format to carry a version identifier,  
or in fact even more strongly that it is wrong for a format not to  
carry a version identifier.

I am not necessarily against the notion, but in order for your  
objection to hold it needs to be substantiated.

You cite the example of validation, which I doubt applies. One always  
validates against something specific  you're not going to validate  
HTML against SVG or PNG  and that specificity includes the version.  
What does adding a version identifier bring to the table here? If I'm  
your resident QA nazi and I say that you have to validate to v5, I'm  
not going to care that your document labelled itself v8.

The case for a version identifier that would be used by the user agent  
is even more tenuous. If the document labels itself as v5 but contains  
v6 content, should a UA that understands v6 skip the newer features? I  
think that's of dubious value, and something tells me that the browser  
vendors might scream a little bit.

Furthermore, experience in the wild (notably with SVG) shows that as  
soon as you have two versions a non-negligible subset of all documents  
start being labelled with the wrong version, meaning you now have a  
lot of useless metadata on your hands.

Version identifiers don't really help for this sort of context,  
they're just extra bytes.

-- 
Robin Berjon - http://berjon.com/
     Feel like hiring me? Go to http://robineko.com/
Received on Tuesday, 20 January 2009 12:04:31 UTC

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