Lee Daniel Crocker (
Wed, 15 May 1996 14:21:47 -0700 (PDT)

Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: DIV/CLASS
Date: Wed, 15 May 1996 14:21:47 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Lee Daniel Crocker" <>

> > If 3.2 were really just an encoding of current practice,
> > then the DTD would have disallowed SHORTTAG.  Allowing it
> > when nobody supports it makes validation meaningless, [...]
> 	<IMG ISMAP="ISMAP"> . . .
> browsers still don't get attribute name minimization right for things like
> <P CENTER> as shorthand for <P ALIGN="CENTER">, and SP won't catch those.
> . . .

SHORTTAG implies those?  Damn.  I guess that means we have to keep
it, because it's too late to back away from <DL COMPACT> now.  I
only wanted <B/Bold/ and <> and <!> expressly forbidden.
<P CENTER> obviously should be as well.  I appears, then, that
the SGML DTD is inadequate for validation, and validators have
to have a lot of application conventions built in to forbid things
that nobody supports but that are SGML legal.  That's unfortunate.
While we'd all love to see browsers become SGML-based, that isn't
going to happen; not now, not in the future.  HTML tools will be
written to parse whatever we call HTML, using their own devices.
We need to specify HTML down to every byte without pointing to
SGML if we expect a useful standard.  Of course the face that it
is in fact a subset of SGML will always be useful.

While we're at it, can we solidify the hopelessly ambiguous and
ill-specified comment syntax?  No matter what, we're going to
break some existing browsers when that one is cleared up, so we
might as well pick the cleanest, easiest-to-parse (and as it
happens de facto standard) syntax.  I.e., begin with <!-- and
end with -->, no exceptions, no weird stuff like "<! -- first
comment -- bet I can break your parser! -- second comment -- >".

As libertarian as I might be in real life, 8 years of hard
experience with file format standards convinces me that the only
ones that work are those enforced with an iron hand.