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Re: some technical thoughts about incremental improvements to forms

From: Dave Raggett <dsr@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 2006 10:43:07 +0100 (BST)
To: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>
Cc: www-forms@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.64.0609061017230.5314@holly>

On Wed, 6 Sep 2006, Lachlan Hunt wrote:

>> But even if one accepts that, it is still unrealistic to 
>> standardize such browser error handling, particularly given the 
>> lack of interoperability in existing implementations.
> See the Parsing section of the Web Apps 1.0 spec [1].  At least 3 
> major browser vendors (Mozilla, Opera and Safari) are committed to 
> implementing that algorithm which is being reverse engineered 
> primarily from the 4 major browsers.

I can appreciate why browser vendors might want to align their error 
handling, but it may have the effect of encouraging more content 
developers to produce malformed markup. So it isn't clear to me
that this justifies being codified as a formal standard.

If the Mozilla, Opera and Safari teams are willing to make such 
changes to their codebase in the interest of cross browser 
consistency, surely they could at the same time also deal with 
improvements to how they parse well formed markup, such as the /> 
syntax for empty elements. I see this as coming under the category
of incremental improvements to text/html.

Another way of thinking about this as as follows. Today, people can 
extend HTML with scripts, keeping the data in script variables. But 
it is easier to maintain if you can separate declarations from the 
code that interprets them. This can be achieved nicely through 
adding attributes to existing HTML elements or adding new elements 
where appropriate, and interpreting them from a script library that 
can be used across many pages and many sites. There are clear 
benefits to standardizing such markup extensions, e.g. in developer 
mindshare and authoring tools. This is a case where the standards 
are aimed at content developers and authoring tool vendors and not 
the browser vendors.

Such incremental extensions to HTML and the associated benefits to 
the developer community would be assisted by improvements in how 
browsers handle welformed markup.

  Dave Raggett <dsr@w3.org>  W3C lead for multimodal interaction
  http://www.w3.org/People/Raggett +44 1225 866240 (or 867351)
Received on Wednesday, 6 September 2006 09:43:14 UTC

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