W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > December 1997

Re: Backwards compatibility of new selectors (was: Color

From: Neil St.Laurent <neil@bigpic.com>
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 1997 15:14:48 -0600
Message-Id: <199712032205.PAA01272@underworld.bigpic.com>
To: Douglas Rand <drand@sgi.com>
CC: www-style@w3.org
> Not true.  Please think this through more carefully.  What sorts of
> mistakes could adding funky characters like '/' and '~' create in
> parsers and lexers?  I'd claim that the worst case is dramatically
> badly formatted output or actual crashes when something goes
> completely wrong..

'/' and '~' are not funky characters, that is by definition of the 
CSS1 core grammar.  A css 1 core grammer should have no problems with 
those characters.
> Maybe.  Or maybe something else will happen...  Why not do this in a
> way where you don't need to suppose the problems,  and can actually
> know what the existing implementations will do?

Netscape appears to not have any problems with backwards 
compatibility from CSS2.

IE4.0 has a few problems because it appears to strip unrecognized 
characters before parsing -- clearly in violation of the 

Our program has no problem using the CSS1 components of a style sheet 
and maintaining the CSS2 when it writes them out again.
> I'm afraid you're a lost cause.  My argument is precisely that
> existing implementations are crucial to the success of technology
> and you ignore them at your risk.  Additionally I would state that

So basically what you're saying is that the first one to have a 
product in a race is guaranteed to dictate the standards?

> Maybe...  Like I said,  you need to take into account both what was
> spec'd,  which does allow the sorts of changes proposed,  and what
> is actually in existence,  which appears to contradict it..

But it does allow the changes proposed.  I've been over the initial 
spec and a few implementations over and over and CSS1 core grammar 
and error handling rules specifically allowed for the changes in 
> the browser vendors,  for better or worse,  had to accept it.  SGML
> may be an ISO standard,  but HTML is not,  and suggesting that HTML,
> in practice,  could ever be made to conform is silly..

No, but browsers incorrectly process optional closing tags and 
optional opening tags.  They don't even use the DTD in order to do 
the parsing, they aren't even HTML browsers, they're what looks like 
HTML browsers.
| Mortar: Advanced Web Development <http://mortar.bigpic.com/>
| Neil St.Laurent                  <mailto:stlaurent@bigpic.com>
| Big Picture Multimedia
Received on Wednesday, 3 December 1997 17:08:52 UTC

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