Browsers and syntax errors (Was: Captions for Figures...)

Steinar Bang (steinarb@falch.no)
Fri, 10 Mar 95 14:14:48 +0100


Date: Fri, 10 Mar 95 14:14:48 +0100
Message-Id: <9503101314.AA07245@flame.falch.no>
From: Steinar Bang <steinarb@falch.no>
To: Multiple recipients of list <www-html@www10.w3.org>
Subject: Browsers and syntax errors (Was: Captions for Figures...)

>>>>> aj@wg.icl.co.uk (Tony Jebson) writes:

> The only thing about the style sheet solution that worries me is
> that I suspect a lot of people will want large captions
> (particularly for figures), and will exploit the fact that most
> browsers are forgiving of HTML syntax errors, and will adopt the
> illegal solution.

Making browsers forgiving about HTML syntax errors, instead of giving
good user feedback, is probably the gravest error committed by the
browser writers.

Not only do you get a lot of bogus documents out there because of
errors people have made that were never discovered, but you get people
looking at those HTML sources and thinking "Aha! You can do it that
way. You don't actually *need* a closing quote in an attribute". 

And you get HTML authoring tool writers using the installed base of
HTML documents on the web as the "definition" of HTML. Granted, this
is probably improving, with the current HTML 2.0 and 3.0 drafts
available, but there's a lot of inertia in the old HTML docs out
there. 

Verification services like the one Dan Connoly used to provide (did
you take it with you to W3, Dan?) can help some, but they will never
affect Joe Homepage who thinks that his homepage looks soo K00L in
Netscape and doesn't understand the complaints about bogus HTML people
keep sending him.

- Steinar