Re: why TITLE, not TITLE?

Stephanos Piperoglou (spip@hol.gr)
Fri, 9 May 1997 17:09:39 +0300 (EET DST)


Date: Fri, 9 May 1997 17:09:39 +0300 (EET DST)
From: Stephanos Piperoglou <spip@hol.gr>
To: Chad Owen Yoshikawa <chad@CS.Berkeley.EDU>
cc: Paul Prescod <papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>, www-html@w3.org
Subject: Re: why TITLE, not TITLE?
In-Reply-To: <199705090328.UAA10106@whenever.CS.Berkeley.EDU>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.95.970509170439.198A-100000@fenchurch.hol.gr>

On Thu, 8 May 1997, Chad Owen Yoshikawa wrote:

> 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.)

The TITLE of a document has a very specific purpose. To UNIQUELY identify
the document in human-readable terms. That's a very important property that
most designers ignore. I've seen whole sites that use the same TITLE over
tens of pages. A document's TITLE is obviously required and should be made
as unique as possible, so as to distinguish it from others.

> 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 is where your problem is, Chad: user agents should be very lenient in
what they accept. The DTD has nothing to do with what a browser would
recognise. A good HTML viewer should be EXTREMELY fault tolerant. The whole
philosophy is being strict with what you serve and lenient with what you
accept. It is the author's responsibility to follow the rules when writing a
document.

--
Stephanos "Pippis" Piperoglou - http://users.hol.gr/~spip/index.html
I've never finished anything I began, but this time I'm