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Re: [webcomponents] More backward-compatible templates

From: Adam Barth <w3c@adambarth.com>
Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2012 05:57:31 -0700
Message-ID: <CAJE5ia9QF_533RY7vjPLVeGEs0xV-kfBYGnZYBwU26hVhHeNOw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: Anne van Kesteren <annevk@annevk.nl>, "public-webapps@w3.org WG" <public-webapps@w3.org>
My apologies for the length and parser technicalities in this email.  The
high-level summary is that Maciej's approach causes nested templates to
parse differently than top-level templates, which seems undesirable.

On Thu, Nov 1, 2012 at 1:29 AM, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com> wrote:

> On Oct 31, 2012, at 7:45 PM, Adam Barth <w3c@adambarth.com> wrote:
> > On Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 11:27 AM, Anne van Kesteren <annevk@annevk.nl>
> wrote:
> >> On Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 7:23 PM, Adam Barth <w3c@adambarth.com> wrote:
> >>> Then maybe I don't understand how parsing will work.  How does the
> >>> parser know when the "Folder i" template stops?  It can't just scan
> >>> ahead for <\/scirpt> if we're using <\/script> to terminate the "Email
> >>> i" template.  Similarly, it can't just match <script> and <\/script>
> >>> tags because then nested templates will parse differently than
> >>> top-level templates...
> >>
> >> You'd need to special case nested templates. But you need to do that
> >> anyway as you're inside a <script> element that normally only emits
> >> character data.
> >
> > I don't really understand what sort of parsing rules you're imagining.
> > If you explain them concretely, I can try to provide problematic
> > examples.
> >
> > Trying to hijack <script> for this purpose works well if you don't
> > need to nest templates.  Once you have nested templates, you either
> > end up in an escaping nightmare or you need to start hacking up how
> > HTML parsing works inside of <script type=template>.  If you go that
> > route, you're in bad shape because these hacks need to work
> > consistently with how <script> parses in a normal HTML parser.  As you
> > can tell by looking at the number of states that <script> requires in
> > the HTML tokenizer, that's not a simple thing.
> Hi Adam,
> This was a proposal based on a few minutes discussion, so it does not yet
> exist in fleshed out form. But here's an attempt to flesh it out just a
> little to attempt to demonstrate some key properties.
> First, I think I should clarify the "escaping" of script close tags. This
> should be thought of not as as a special escape character, but just an
> alternate way to spell "</script>" that non-template-aware browsers will
> not interpret as closing the script tag. To avoid confusion due to the
> escapey feeling of the backslash, let's call it "</+script>" for purposes
> of this post, but really it could be anything as long as it doesn't contain
> "</script>" as a literal substring, and does not match any real close or
> open tag.
> Given this assumption, here is a whack at some rules:
> (1) The normal HTML parser is completely unchanged.
> (2) The script element gains a new IDL attribute:
> HTMLScriptElement {
>     DocumentFragment template;
> }
> (3) When the template attribute is accessed, perform the following steps:
>     (a) If the template attribute of this script has been accessed
> previously, and neither the textContent of the <script> nor the presence of
> the template attribute have changed:
>         (a.i) Return the script element's [cached template return value]
>         (a.ii) terminate these steps.
>     (b) Else, if the script does not have a DOM attribute named "template":
>         (b.i) Set the script element's [cached template return value] to
> null.
>         (b.ii) Return the script element's [cached template return value]
>         (b.iii) terminate these steps.
>      (c) Else (in this case due to (b) the script must have a "template")
> attribute:
>         (c.i) Parse the textContents of the script using the template
> fragment parser, and set the resulting DOM fragment to be the script
> element's [cached template return value].
>         (c.ii) Return the script element's [cached template return value]
>         (c.iii) Terminate these steps.
> (4) The template fragment parser operates like the HTML fragment parser,
> but with the following differences:
>     (a) It parses as if for an XMLHttpRequest document response -
> scripting is disabled and referenced resources are not loaded.

    (b) A close tag named "+script" is treated as if it were a close tag
> named "script".

The way HTML parsing works, <script> is parsed by the tokenizer, not by the
tree builder, which means we need to teach the tokenizer how to find close
tags named "+script" starting from the script data state rather than
teaching the tree builder what to do once the parser finds one.

You probably mean that we need to modify the "script data end tag open"
state in the following ways:

1) Remove the clauses regarding uppercase and lowercase ASCII letters.
2) Insert a clause to handle + by consuming the current character and
advancing advancing the tokenizer to a new tokenizer state that is exactly
identical to the current "script data end tag open" state.

We also need to change a bunch of script data states to emit + in addition
to < and /, but that's straightforward.

The net result of these changes is that </+script> acts like </script>
inside the template fragment parser in the sense that it lets you escape
from the script data state.

>     (c) When an open tag named "script" with a markup attribute named
> "template" is encountered, then instead of parsing the contents as a
> script, perform the following steps:
>         (i) Start parsing with the nested template fragment parser until
> it [returns to the parent template fragment parser].
>         (ii) Set the newly created script element's [cached template
> return value] to the results of step (i).
>         (iii) Continue parsing the fragment where the nested template
> fragment parser left off.

That makes sense.  You're asking the tree builder to maintain a stack of
nested template fragment parsers.

(5) The nested template fragment parser operates like the template fragment
> parser, but with the following additional difference:
>      (a) When a close tag named "+script" is encountered which does not
> match any currently open script tag:

Let me try to understand what you've written here concretely:

1) We need to change the "end tag open" state to somehow recognize
"</+script>" as an end tag rather than as a bogus comment.
2) When the tree builder encounter such an end tag in the ???? state(s), we
execute the substeps you've outlined below.

The problem with this approach is that nested templates parse differently
than top-level templates.  Consider the following example:

<script type=template>

In this case, none of the nested template parser modifications apply and
we'll parse this as normal for HTML.  That means the contents of the
template will be "<b" (let's ignore whitespace for simplicity).

<script type=template>
  <script type=template>

Unfortunately, the nested template in this example parses differently than
it did when it was a top-level template.  The problem is that the
characters "</+script>" are not recognized by the tokenizer as an end tag
because they are encountered by the nested template fragment parser in the
"before attribute name" state.  That means they get treated as some sort of
bogus attributes of the <b> tag rather than as an end tag.

>          (a.i) Consume the token for the close tag named "+script".
>          (a.ii) Crate a DocumentFragment containing that parsed contents
> of the fragment.
>          (a.iii) [return to the parent template fragment parser] with the
> result of step (a.ii) with the parent parser to resume after the "+script"
> close tag.
> This is pretty rough and I'm sure I got some details wrong. But I believe
> it demonstrates the following properties:
> (B) Allows for perfect fidelity polyfills, because it will manifestly end
> the template in the same place that an unaware browser would close the
> <script> element.
> (C) Does not require multiple levels of escaping.
> (A) Can be implemented without changes to the core HTML parser (though
> you'd need to introduce a new fragment parsing mode).

I suspect we're quibbling over "no true Scotsman" semantics here, but you
obviously need to modify both the HTML tokenizer and tree builder for this
approach to work.

> (D) Can be implemented with near-identical behavior for XHTML, except that
> you'd need an XML fragment parser.

The downside is that nested templates don't parse the same as top-level
templates.  Another issue is that you've also introduced the following
security risk:

Today, the following line of JavaScript is safe to include in an inline
script tag:

var x = "</+script><img onerror=alert(1)>";

Because that line does not contain "</script>", the string "alert(1)" will
be treated as the contents of a string.  However, if that line is included
in an inline script inside of a template, the modifications of to the
parser above will mean that alert(1) will execute as JavaScript rather than
being treated as a string, introducing an XSS vector.

> I hope this clarifies the proposal.
> Notes:
> - Just because it's described this way doesn't mean it has to be
> implemented this way - implementations could do template parsing in a
> single pass with HTML parsing if desired. I wrote it this way mainly to
> demonstrate the desired properties/

I'm not sure how we'd be able to that without running multiple copies of
the tokenizer state machine in parallel.  The tokenizer states for the
template fragment parser aren't going to line up in any meaningful way with
the top-level tokenizer's search for an appropriate end tag to escape from
the script data states.

Received on Thursday, 1 November 2012 12:58:33 UTC

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