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Re: Precision and error handling (was URL work in HTML 5)

From: Martin J. Dürst <duerst@it.aoyama.ac.jp>
Date: Tue, 02 Oct 2012 18:24:11 +0900
Message-ID: <506AB2BB.7040503@it.aoyama.ac.jp>
To: "Michael[tm] Smith" <mike@w3.org>
CC: Robin Berjon <robin@w3.org>, Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>, Noah Mendelsohn <nrm@arcanedomain.com>, W3C TAG <www-tag@w3.org>
Hello Mike,

On 2012/10/02 17:11, Michael[tm] Smith wrote:
> "\"Martin J. Dürst\""<duerst@it.aoyama.ac.jp>, 2012-10-02 16:37 +0900:
>
>> Getting back to HTML5, is there anybody except maybe the spec editor(s)
>> themselves who knows all the parsing rules by heart and therefore can
>> productively make use of them?
>
> You don't need to know the parsing rules to understand how to produce
> conforming HTML documents. The spec provides document-conformance
> requirements for authors/producers, separate from the parsing rules --
> which are for UA/consumers, not for authors.
>
>> What would you give as an advice to somebody who wants to "productively"
>> edit HTML5 source?
>
> Follow the document-conformance requirements provided in the spec, or in
> some reference, how-to, or tutorial that follows the spec.

Great.


>> a) Just write what you think might work, HTML will do what you mean (DWYM).
>
> I don't think anybody has seriously suggested that's a good idea. It
> certainly not what they HTML5 spec itself suggests.

Well, I seemed to quite clearly detect arguments in that direction in 
Robin's mail. But maybe I misunderstood him.


>> b) Follow a few very simple rules (mostly just XML-like syntax and
>> structure), and easily stay on the safe side and don't go near the cliff,
>
> The document-conformance rules provided in the spec are in fact pretty
> simple, despite the fact that some people seem to have in interest in
> suggesting they're not. And these rules existed long before XML did. For
> example, you've never been able to do<script/>  in an HTML document. The
> fact that XML created self-closing tag syntax for XML didn't change HTML.
> And the fact that you don't need to use end tags for the p element in HTML
> has always been a fact. The arrival of XML did not change that.
>
> People put all quite a lot of pages up on the Web before XML came along,
> and people in those years didn't seems to have considered HTML authoring
> rules to be very complicated.

Well, I was at W3C at that time (in the same room that you are now using 
:-) and Masayasu used to collect all these various DTDs and claim that 
he'd be the only human validator, and pretty much he was. But that may 
have been a somewhat biased view of HTML that I was exposed to there.

>> and frequently use a validator or similar checking tool.
>
> Yeah

Okay, great.


>> Second, the question is how friendly the (currently main) HTML5 spec is to
>> the users.
>
> I think we could ask that question about lots of our specs. I happen to
> think the HTML spec is a lot more friendly than most. Certainly, Hixie's
> put a lot of effort into trying to put useful guidance for authors into it
> wherever appropriate.

Great.

> At the same time, we're not here to make our specs
> into tutorials. For better or worse, the main target of the HTML spec is UA
> implementors, and it goes to great length to document the UA conformance
> requirements as thoroughly and precisely and unambiguously as possible. Any
> spec that does that is inherently going to be a pretty intimidating read to
> a lot of readers.

That's okay for the UA-oriented version of the spec.


>> See Noah's point about making the author spec the main HTML5 spec.
>
> I'm not sure what it would mean to make the author spec the "main" HTML5
> spec.

Well, it would send a clear signal that the reasonably clean and 
straightforward stuff for the authors is what matters most, and that the 
UA stuff is necessary evil, rather than the main goal.


Regards,   Martin.
Received on Tuesday, 2 October 2012 09:24:54 GMT

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