FPI for Cougar drafts? (was Re: Combined DTD - 3.2 + CSS1?)

At 20:02 16/4/97 -0400, Dave Raggett wrote:
>There won't be an "official" Cougar DTD until the W3C members get
>to vote on a proposed recommendation. All I can offer is work in
>progress with the same disclaimers as for the drafts. That said
>a *draft* DTD will be posted on the Cougar page within the next
>few days along with the SGML declaration for Unicode support.

An updated "clean draft," which is relatively stable, would seem to be of
value to many folks, particularly those trying to use HTML in a responsible
manner. [1] We've persuaded many folks of the value of validating their
pages... ergo they need something meaningful (from various perspectives)
against which to validate.

The HTML 3.2 DOCTYPE caused quite a bit of confusion, when the final
version had a few changes which caused a lot of previously validated
documents to suddenly break. [2]

On one hand, it is not reasonable to expect the final version of the DTD to
be identical with the draft versions. On the other hand, it is not
reasonable to expect Web site authors to change all the DOCTYPE statements
of all the pages on all their sites, every time a new draft comes out.

Alas, the nature of the beast (the ground shifting under HTML author's
feet) is that change is difficult. 

The question then, what might be the best FPI to use during the draft
cycle... by Web page authors, and by HTML validation services? Is a common
alias, updated to point to the latest draft version, or using only the
specific version FPI, or is something else the best way to go.

I don't know that there is a better way; I'm only suggesting that there was
enough confusion regarding the final changes to HTML 3.2; hence the issue
seems worth considering.


[1] Let's assume that "reasonable manner" includes thee and me, and a few
of our friends, and leave it at that. <g>

[2] Elimination of &quot; seemed to have by far the most impact... the list
element changes, for example seemed to mostly impact HTML generated code
from products such as Microsoft's Office 97 Word, which has so many other
defects that one hardly noticed.

Harold A. Driscoll                       mailto:harold@driscoll.chi.il.us
#include <std/disclaimer>      http://homepage.interaccess.com/~driscoll/