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Standards mode and Quirks mode (was Re: [CSS21] Test Suite)

From: L. David Baron <dbaron@dbaron.org>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2004 14:57:42 -0700
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-ID: <20040723215742.GA4059@darby.dbaron.org>
On Friday 2004-07-23 23:47 +0200, Thomas Scholz wrote:
> While I see the problem behind the idea of doctypeswitching, I really,  
> really hate the »solution«. It never worked and it will never work. I've  
> seen a lot of documents in »standard mode« which had a »quirks mode«  
> needed and reverse. The document type declaration is just the wrong place  
> to ask for a compatibility mode. It's markup not style, now misused for  
> layout purposes. The doctype switch is the continuation of the layout  
> table with the same methods.

It was never designed as something that authors should select.  It was
designed as a heuristic to distinguish new documents from old ones.
Authors writing new documents should either be using XHTML MIME types or
should be using DOCTYPE declarations that trigger standards mode.  Thus,
in principle, all new documents should trigger standards mode.  In
reality, this isn't the case, but the number of authors using
appropriate modern authoring tools or techniques should be larger than
the number of authors who know about quirks mode and standards mode and
would explicitly select standards mode using a mechanism that was
designed to be selected by the author.  After all, authors shouldn't
need to know about standards mode and quirks mode -- they should just be
able to follow appropriate standards.

> Long time ago, when Opera 7.0 implemented The Switch, I asked for a method  
> to prevent quirks mode in all circumstences. I never got an answer. A  
> simple
> /*--quirks:never--*/ had been enough. No luck.

In Mozilla and Safari, you could just add an empty internal subset to
any existing DOCTYPE declaration to turn off quirks mode.  This causes
no semantic change to the DOCTYPE declaration.


L. David Baron                                <URL: http://dbaron.org/ >

Received on Friday, 23 July 2004 17:58:15 UTC

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