W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > May 1998

Re: Browser compatibility with implementation bugs

From: Ian Hickson <exxieh@bath.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 19 May 1998 21:44:45 +0100
Message-ID: <003e01bd8367$c9536d80$cd20268a@hpxu>
To: Stephanos Piperoglou <sp249@cam.ac.uk>
Cc: Chris Wilson <cwilso@microsoft.com>, www-style@w3.org
>I don't think [inferring the DTD] is a good idea. In the matter of bugward
>compatibility I think the best thing to do is to simply check the DTD. If
>it's non-existant, enable bug compatibility mode. If it's existant, disable
Yes! A much better idea! Which leads to the compromise solution of:
(o) Use Backwards Compatible 'Tag Soup' Parsing when there
    is no valid DOCTYPE, use Strict SGML parsing otherwise.
( ) Always use Backwards Compatible 'Tag Soup' Parsing.
( ) Always use Strict SGML parsing (complain when no DTD)
    Stop parsing when encountering invalid markup.

The cool thing is that 'strict' mode automatically excludes MARQUEE, and
immediately points out missing ALT attributes to all these budding web
authors. Of course, it also means that IE5 must be DTD/SGML-aware. [1]

>Since bug compatibility will mostly be added checks (no space without a
></P>, allow improperly nested lists and so on),
_Added_ checks? Don't you think IE4 does enough coping with errors as it is?

>I'm confident that if Microsoft came up with a version of Internet Explorer
>that truly, faithfully, completely followed a *specific* standard (and not
>"parts of HTML 4.0", meaning not even proper HTML 2.0), you'd be seeing
>little "best viewed with IE" buttons all over the Web in a matter of days.
There's enough of those already!! (Never understood why people advertise,
for free, other people's products on their pages. Where's the logic? "Hi.
I'm glad you want to buy my produce. First, I suggest you go to this shop
across the road and buy their product." Doesn't make sense.)
However, yes, you're right. That's the whole point: make it undesirable to
the authors to write invalid markup.

>What every author of Web pages wants these days is the ability to go to
>the W3C's web site, print a copy of the latest recommendation (or the
>latest recommendation he knows is implemented) and be able to code to
>that, without testing it against any browser or looking up any other
Well, what 'real' authors want, anyway. Those that don't touch MARQUEE,
LAYER and 'display: line' [2]...
In fact, this is what I do already. I'm in the process of converting my
entire site to HTML4 STRICT + CSS2 + WAI. I've already come across two
problems by doing this, too (no lang attr on HR, height/width deprecation

So Chris! Is all this going to happen?
(IE5? IE6? Mozilla people: N5? N6?)

[1] And might even implement all the <[[CDATA stuff which SGML allows...
[2] an emacs/w3 extention. I thought I'd better be fair :-)

Ian Hickson
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Received on Tuesday, 19 May 1998 16:50:34 UTC

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