Re: why TITLE, not TITLE?

Paul Prescod (papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca)
Fri, 09 May 1997 11:25:52 -0400


Message-ID: <33734200.BD861822@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
Date: Fri, 09 May 1997 11:25:52 -0400
From: Paul Prescod <papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
To: www-html@w3.org
Subject: Re: why TITLE, not TITLE?

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.

Since the semantics of META vary requiring ONE META tag would be useless
because the particular semantics each user chose might be different.

The long and short is that every information system must decide how much
meta-information it is going to require and the Web decided that all
HTML documents should have titles. I think that that is a good choice.

> Its use should be encouraged (for the reasons you cite), but the document
> still exists without a title.  

It also exists with binary data in the middle of it. Neither are valid
HTML documents for valid reasons.

> If the DTD evolves based on its use, it seems
> that the TITLE element is certainly optional in practice.  

The DTD is meant to *drive* use.

> 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.)

But your argument can be applied to each kind of brokenness. Then the
brokenness seeps into the foundations of the information system.

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

Which is some more required meta-data.

 Paul Prescod