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

Re: Browser compatibility with implementation bugs

From: Todd Fahrner <fahrner@pobox.com>
Date: Tue, 19 May 1998 16:22:50 -0700
Message-Id: <v03102807b187b253e7e2@[]>
To: Ian Hickson <exxieh@bath.ac.uk>, Stephanos Piperoglou <sp249@cam.ac.uk>
Cc: Chris Wilson <cwilso@microsoft.com>, www-style@w3.org
Ian Hickson wrote (9:44 PM +0100 5/19/98):

" (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.

At this point, I don't see any reason to believe (nor, frankly, much reason
to hope) that anybody's going to release a validating SGML browser for the
mass market (i.e., cross-platform, free, and capable of doing something
friendly when it hits real web documents).

I do see reason to hope and believe that soon, mass-market browsers will
parse documents that begin with <?xml version="1.0"?> . They'd better be
well-formed, but apart from that, their elements and most of their grammar
might come straight from the HTML DTD(s) of your choice. This will make
them viewable in legacy browsers, at least in most cases. Whether or not
they actually validate is up to the author - maybe even to write the DTD,
too. The browser, in any case, will be able to parse them and use a
stylesheet if they're well-formed.

In the beginning, these documents will be transmogrified on-the-fly into a
thin HTML tag soup for legacy HTML renderers to deal with, as a display
format - tables, font tags, spacer GIFs, frames, inline CSS, Javascript -
anything goes! Eventually (I fervently hope) more suitable display
languages will be deployed to help bury the war-torn corpse of
"D[ynamic/isplay]HTML". PGML?


I've been editing the HTML 4.0 Strict DTD to require more well-formedness.
It's a long way from XML yet (and I would probably miss the exit anyway),
but I don't doubt that an XML profile of HTML will soon emerge from more
expert efforts. Just imagine: a DTD for describing the structure and
semantics of general purpose documents, with hyperlinks to arbitrary
Internet resources - even images and sounds! This time, though, there'll be
a style language to help keep default renderings from ever emerging.


Stupid stunt: how to produce vertical whitespace in Netscape 3.0 with
XML-compliant HTML:

<div class="br">&nbsp;</div>
<div class="br">&nbsp;</div>
<div class="br">&nbsp;</div>

lather, rinse, repeat. set display of class br to "none" and style as usual.

Todd Fahrner

The printed page transcends space and time. The printed page, the
infinitude of books, must be transcended. THE ELECTRO-LIBRARY.
	- El Lissitzky, 1923
Received on Tuesday, 19 May 1998 19:15:24 UTC

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