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From: Nir Dagan <nir@nirdagan.com>
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2000 11:30:44 -0500
Message-Id: <200001311629.LAA17965@vega.brown.edu>
To: www-html@w3.org
Well the W3C had basically two options:
1. design a syntax that is fully backward compatible, but allows for little
   advancement of the Web.
2. Design a syntax that is not fully backward compatible, but allows 
   to do many more things than we do today.

To achieve the first, XML should not have been SGML at all. It should 
have been TagSoup(TM). The SGML requirement alone breaks 99% of existing 
pages. Restricting syntax to TagSoup put great limits on what can be done.
It would be a shame to destroy a long future due to mistakes of the short

Clearly the HTML purist who wrote valid SGML can automatically convert 
(at some cost, no doubt) his HTML to XHTML using SGML aware software.

The super pedantic HTML purist (who quoted all attributes, and wrote 
all optional tags) can do it with the search-and-replace function of 
a text editor.

Since HTML2.0, HTML is defined as a SGML application. Those who took 
standartization more seriously than others will bear lower costs.

Concerning the "tower," that's realy pushing it. The membership of W3C 
is very diverse and represents the opinions of many web development 
organizations, companies, and individuals. Eveidently, consensus is 
always a theoretical notion, and general comments are not useful in 
improving the W3C process.


At 10:17 AM 1/31/00 -0500, Francis X. Speiser Jr. wrote:
>Mr. Dagan is correct as usual... but I think Vidiot has got a valid point.
>Who's idea was it to break bazillions of docs anyway? With the scope of
>work that the W3C does, it is easy enough to criticize something. After
>all, you can't make all of the people happy all of the time... But did
>they have a meeting and try to decide how, for the first time in history,
>a way to piss off ALL factions of web developers? I write all my HTML/XML
>in lower case, but I find it a little over the top to tell someone else
>they have to change just because someone in the tower thought lowercase
>looks a little better.
>And before you go and say that semantics should be standard and in XML
>case sensitivity is an issue, I would like to say that *any* semantic
>language we use should be robust enough to support both and know the
>difference. Maybe the developement isn't finished yet, but it really
>should. ($0.02)
>I personally, in my own personal opinion, believe that the standards body
>is making a mistake by trading functionality for standardization. While
>they are doing a good job of getting us all to communicate and getting
>ready for the hosts of browsers that will support these languages in the
>"light devices" market, they seem to be trying to solve problems better
>left to software developers. Of course I am a software developer.
>Don't worry though, until the browsers stop supporting older DTD's you
>should be able to declare something other than XHTML 1.0, which will
>render your page with no probs....

Nir Dagan
Assistant Professor of Economics
Brown University 
Providence, RI

Received on Monday, 31 January 2000 11:29:09 UTC

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