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Re: [dom3core] getAttribute

From: Bjoern Hoehrmann <derhoermi@gmx.net>
Date: Fri, 02 Dec 2005 17:36:46 +0100
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: DOM mailing list <www-dom@w3.org>
Message-ID: <7jp0p1dkv8lpm1a2ugkvjqsq4fq5m5vm1l@hive.bjoern.hoehrmann.de>

* Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>I will note that the CSS working group is much more flexible about  
>evolving the spec based on browser implementation experience. Note  
>that CSS 2.1 actually removes entire features from CSS2.

The CSS Working Group is chartered to develop CSS 2.1 with exactly this
in mind, the DOM Working Group is not chartered to do anything like that
and in fact, there is no DOM Working Group at the moment and the entire
DOM activity expired a month ago.

You can't really compare these two deliverables either, CSS is not used
much outside the web browser context while the DOM is not tightly bound
to this environment and the ECMAScript programming language, a working
group would naturally have to consider implementation experience of more

For example, JScript code using the GetAttribute method in the .NET
framework will get an empty string if the attribute is not specified,
likewise for the SVG viewers ASV and Batik.

For CSS web browser vendors also implemented "quirks mode" and other
means to stay bugwards compatible for certain documents but implement
conforming behavior for other documents; so it's easier for web browser
vendors to cope with changes that affect conformance.

I also note that we have not yet heard from Internet Explorer, Firefox,
Safari, Konquerer and iCab developers whether they would be willing to
change their code to match the specification, or whether we could keep
this quirk in the specification for the obsolete getAttribute method but
use the empty string as return value for getAttributeNS which is much
less widespread.

We do not even know whether there are real-world sites that currently
break in Opera due to this issue, we just know that script authors code
poorly, don't check the specifications and only care about web browsers
with considerable market share, so we can conclude there is no choice
but to align with the market leaders, otherwise the sky will fall, the
web break, and whatnot.

Just to say that neither your threat to look for some other committee
to handle this matter in a way that pleases you, nor such comparisons
are particularily helpful to resolve this issue. If you think there
should be a DOM Working Group chartered with changing the specs such
that they match what some set of web browsers implement, it's best to
convince AC representatives to communicate this.
Björn Höhrmann · mailto:bjoern@hoehrmann.de · http://bjoern.hoehrmann.de
Weinh. Str. 22 · Telefon: +49(0)621/4309674 · http://www.bjoernsworld.de
68309 Mannheim · PGP Pub. KeyID: 0xA4357E78 · http://www.websitedev.de/ 
Received on Saturday, 3 December 2005 17:36:56 UTC

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