Re: HTML 4.0/SGML, (#PCDATA)* problem in TEXTAREA

Paul Prescod (
Tue, 29 Jul 1997 22:03:20 -0400

Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 1997 22:03:20 -0400
From: Paul Prescod <>
Subject: Re: HTML 4.0/SGML, (#PCDATA)* problem in TEXTAREA

Neil St.Laurent wrote:
> What is HTML's position on handling unknown tags though?  According
> to SGML they should simply cause the document to be invalid, but it
> appears (and I remember reading) that HTML browsers are to simply
> pretend as though the unknown tag wasn't there.

HTML is SGML and unknown elements are invalid in both. Certain versions
of HTML described a particular, popular error recovery mechanism that
involved ignoring the tags, but that mechanism was never to be
considered mandatory and documents that depended on it were just as
wrong as documents that did not. I can't find anything that would
recommend an error recovery mechanism in HTML 4.0, but I haven't read
the whole spec. Like you, many people misread the earlier comment to be
some form of rule.

 Paul Prescod