Re: Conformance ratings (was: Extra! Microsoft beats Netscape in the race for non-conformance!)

Mike Meyer (mwm@contessa.phone.net)
Mon, 12 Feb 1996 21:30:52 PST


Subject:  Re: Conformance ratings (was: Extra! Microsoft beats Netscape in the race for non-conformance!)
In-Reply-To: <199602130226.SAA22401@server.livingston.com>
From: mwm@contessa.phone.net (Mike Meyer)
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 1996 21:30:52 PST
Message-Id: <19960212.76A5F58.138BC@contessa.phone.net>
To: www-html@w3.org

> First of all, I've yet to see a validation system stay up to the minute
> with new extensions.  I don't think it is at all fair to penalize pages that
> use extensions if the underlaying code is solid.

I think it's fair to penalize the use of extensions - unless there is
a standards track document describing them, or they use a different
media type than text/html (ok, a version will do) to make sure they
only go to browsers that accept them. Using inadequately documented
extensions is a violation of the "accept liberal, generate strict"
guideline that keeps the internet interoperable.

> I'm not going to, it's a pain in the ass to keep that stuff straight.

It's only a pain in the ass if you don't use them properly. I
recommend to my clients that they leave them off HTML 2 documents, and
use them for documents that need extensions. That the publication
system I put wrote for them enforces the latter helps. They have no
problems with getting the right DOCTYPE on documents.

> The web is an open playing field.  If I decide to use <FONT COLOR="#rrggbb">
> on my pages, that's my decision.  I know very well that only NS 2.0 will
> use it.

How does that saying go "It ain't what you don't know that hurts you,
it's what you do konw that ain't so."

In this case, what you "know" ain't so. The interesting question is,
will the browser that introduced the COLOR attribute of the FONT tag
(if you know of a specification for the behavior of either of these
suitable for an IETF standards-track document, I'd love to know about
it) handle what you just put in? Will it do what you want? Will it
ignore it as it the value of the attribute isn't understood? Will it
do the exact opposite of what you intend?

There are other cases where browsers with extensions from different
groups produced unintended results because the two groups gave
different meanings to the same tag or attribute name.

You're right - it's your choice. However, anyone rating your pages for
interoperability would be remiss in not dinging you for providing
documents that used inadequately documented extensions.

	<mike