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

Paul Cohen (pmcohen@netaxs.com)
Mon, 13 Mar 1995 20:06:48 -0500


Message-Id: <199503140106.UAA11158@netaxs.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 1995 20:06:48 -0500
To: www-html@www10.w3.org
From: pmcohen@netaxs.com (Paul Cohen)
Subject: Re: Browsers and syntax errors (Was: Captions for Figures...)

>>>>>> pmcohen@netaxs.com (Paul Cohen) writes:
>
>>> Making browsers forgiving about HTML syntax errors, instead of giving
>>> good user feedback, is probably the gravest error committed by the
>>> browser writers.
>
>> As a programmer, I have to disagree strongly.  The most important thing a
>> program can be is forgiving of user errors.
>
>Does that hold for programming language compilers as well? Does that
>hold for UNIX shell scripts or, if fact, any formal textual way of
>specifying to a computer what you want it to do?
>
>You shouldn't need a lot of heuristics to figure out what the user has
>meant when you're talking about something that amounts to a
>"programming language". A document is either correct, or it isn't. And
>if it isn't correct, the fix is very often easy... *If* the author is
>given some form of feedback, and pointed to the approximate place of
>the error in the document.

Unlike compilers, we have web designers and end users using the same
browsers.  End users should never get errors that they aren't prepared to
deal with, the program should handle all problems for them that it can.  The
better solution here is to have perhaps startup parameters on browsers so
that web designers could turn off the error handling.  Then the browsers
could act more like compilers for programmers.

________Paul Cohen________________pmcohen@netaxs.com________________________
        Philadelphia, PA          http://www.netaxs.com/~pmcohen/
ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo talk: pmcohen@slip-91.netaxs.com