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Re: Re Jon on Error

From: Paul Prescod <papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
Date: Tue, 06 May 1997 22:27:03 -0400
Message-ID: <336FE877.F71967E1@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
To: w3c-sgml-wg@w3.org
Terry Allen wrote:
> That's what those of their representatives who are cognizant of the
> issue say today.  It is reasonable (though perhaps in error) to
> predict that the corporate interests of the companies these people
> work for will in time pull the other way.

Not to mention the fact that programming errors can become "law".
Netscape 1.0's bugs have a much higher importance in the minds of HTML
authors than the specification. "Sure that works ... I've been doing it
for years!"
 
> | (c) Some people who understand the necessity for a compiler to refuse
> | to produce an executable from broken code seem to think that it's
> | perfectly OK for a document processor to pass over bad spots in a
> | document and carry on.  

I didn't get around to addressing this one of Jon's points before. Jade 
does in fact do some quite nice error recovery in DSSSL scripts. Jade
may 
not be a compiler but a DSSSL style sheet is a program. The fact that 
Jade doesn't give up as soon it hits an undefined symbol saves me time. 
I think: "oh yeah, I have to define that symbol" and check the other
error 
messages and the output for other mistakes. Other interpreter-like
systems
do this too.

> Let M & N sign a treaty
> if they want about what their *applications* won't do.

This is an important point. If they want to "solve the HTML problem"
they can. They can launch a "Web Correctness Initiative" within W3C.
They will get lots of good press in the trade rags. They can agree to
add validators to both of their HTML browser products. They can agree
that their editor products will not make bad HTML. This is all entirely
within their power and does not require any new specifications.

If they haven't taken the fundamental steps to help themselves why are
they harassing us?

> Anyone who has a single error in his document is a bozo?  Ahem.
> I don't buy any of this.  But I've said my piece, I don't think
> it matters what you specify, and as this is a vendor-sponsored
> forum, perhaps it doesn't matter what the WG says, either.

It may not matter to "Jane and Joe Average" what the ERB and WG say
because as you say Netscape and Microsoft will eventually back down if
users put pressure on them. But those of us who rely on quality,
standards compliant software could be seriously inconvenienced if they
all stick to the letter of this standard. Tim seems willing to give
editors "wiggle room" in this forum but I don't see how the wording of
the draconian spec allows them any. And that still doesn't answer the
question about tools that are used both for delivery and in "test mode"
where "do the best that you can" is useful (e.g. Jade, browsers, etc.).

 Paul Prescod
Received on Tuesday, 6 May 1997 22:37:34 UTC

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