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Change Proposal for ISSUE-125

From: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2010 18:26:29 +0100
Message-ID: <4CDECA45.6020309@gmx.de>
To: "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
SUMMARY

The specification requires recipients to parse Content-Type headers in 
<meta> elements in a way breaking HTTP's parsing rules.

The justification given is:

   "Note: This requirement is a willful violation of the HTTP 
specification (for example, HTTP doesn't allow the use of single quotes 
and requires supporting a backslash-escape mechanism that is not 
supported by this algorithm), motivated by the need for backwards 
compatibility with legacy content."

...however tests show that Internet Explorer ([1]) does indeed obey the 
HTTP parsing rules, so it's highly doubtful that it's actually needed 
for "backwards compatibility".

RATIONALE

"Willful violations" should be restricted to cases where they are 
actually needed in practice. Evidence shows this is not the case here.

DETAILS

Change Step 6 in the last part of 
<http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/Overview.html#content-type-sniffing> from:

-- cut --
    6.
       Process the next character as follows:

       If it is a U+0022 QUOTATION MARK ('"') and there is a later 
U+0022 QUOTATION MARK ('"') in s
       If it is a U+0027 APOSTROPHE ("'") and there is a later U+0027 
APOSTROPHE ("'") in s
           Return the encoding corresponding to the string between this 
character and the next earliest occurrence of this character.
       If it is an unmatched U+0022 QUOTATION MARK ('"')
       If it is an unmatched U+0027 APOSTROPHE ("'")
       If there is no next character
           Return nothing.
       Otherwise
           Return the encoding corresponding to the string from this 
character to the first U+0009, U+000A, U+000C, U+000D, U+0020, or U+003B 
character or the end of s, whichever comes first.
-- cut --

to

-- cut --
    6.
       Process the next character as follows:

       If it is a U+0022 QUOTATION MARK ('"') and there is a later 
U+0022 QUOTATION MARK ('"') in s
           Return the encoding corresponding to the string between this 
character and the next earliest occurrence of this character.
       If it is an unmatched U+0022 QUOTATION MARK ('"')
       If it is an unmatched U+0027 APOSTROPHE ("'")
       If there is no next character
           Return nothing.
       Otherwise
           Return the encoding corresponding to the string from this 
character to the first U+0009, U+000A, U+000C, U+000D, U+0020, or U+003B 
character or the end of s, whichever comes first.
-- cut --

...and change the following note accordingly (the exact text for the 
note depending on the decision for ISSUE-126).

IMPACT

1. Positive Effects

Removal of a "willful violation" that is not required at all.

No need to change IE's behavior; the notoriously hard to get-rid-of 
legacy IE versions remain compliant.

2. Negative Effects

Non-IE UAs may have to change if they want to be compliant in handling 
essentially invalid header field instances (a single quote never is part 
of a charset name).

3. Conformance Classes Changes

Certain instances of meta/@http-equiv change their semantics.

4. Risks

The risk appears to be small, given the fact that IE already behaves the 
way this Change Proposal describes.


REFERENCES

[1] <http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=10805#c0>
Received on Saturday, 13 November 2010 17:27:15 UTC

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