Re: why TITLE, not TITLE?

Chad Owen Yoshikawa (chad@CS.Berkeley.EDU)
Thu, 8 May 1997 20:28:31 -0700 (PDT)


From: Chad Owen Yoshikawa <chad@CS.Berkeley.EDU>
Message-Id: <199705090328.UAA10106@whenever.CS.Berkeley.EDU>
Subject: Re: why TITLE, not TITLE?
To: papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca (Paul Prescod)
Date: Thu, 8 May 1997 20:28:31 -0700 (PDT)
Cc: chad@CS.Berkeley.EDU, www-html@w3.org
In-Reply-To: <33728A9C.1D899970@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca> from "Paul Prescod" at May 8, 97 10:23:24 pm

> 
> Chad Owen Yoshikawa wrote:
> > 'Why is it that TITLE is a required member of the HEAD element?'
> 
> The title is something you can put in search engine hitlists.
> The title is something you can put on "back buttons".
> The title is something you can put in "hotlists".
> The title is a really good thing to prioritize in a keyword search.
> There is no good reason that a document shouldn't have a title. If you
> want the URL to be the title, make the URL the title.
> 
> What do you have against title?

Nothing, believe me :) There are a lot of uses for TITLE.  There are also a lot 
of uses for META, but that's not a reason to make it a required element.  
Its use should be encouraged (for the reasons you cite), but the document 
still exists without a title.  If the DTD evolves based on its use, it seems 
that the TITLE element is certainly optional in practice.  Essentially,
the point is that a document should still be rendered if the TITLE
element is missing.  Given a web browser, there are two choices: break the
parser so that it accepts invalid HTML with no TITLE element, or IMHO make
the cleaner choice which is to make the DTD have the TITLE element be
optional.  
(Yes, there are a lot of broken pages, and no, the DTD shouldn't adapt
to all of these broken pages.  I'm just focusing on TITLE.)

In the browser I'm writing, I had to make this choice, and I chose to 
modify the DTD.  The browser's parser now accepts a superset of HTML3.2,
The other option being to modify the parser, which would have definitely 
involved more code :)  (and functionally, doesn't have made a difference 
besides the fact that the browser cannot produce an error message for docs 
with not TITLE element.)

> > This means that:
> > Hello World
> > is invalid HTML, while 
> > <TITLE>foo</TITLE>
> > Hello World
> > is valid HTML.
> 
> No, the latter is not valid HTML 3.2, no matter what your checker says.
> The HTML 3.2 specification is very explicit on this point. Check the
> spec:

Ah - you're right, I missed the:
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 3.2 Final//EN">

-Chad
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