RE: Statistics on mobileOK Basic

I think this is an interesting thread, though it's not so much in our
gift as BP to change the world as to recognise its frailties.

A couple of points struck me on catching up on reading the thread (those
of you who were not in Seoul have been amusing yourselves, while we were
away, it seems!)

1) Sympathetic though I am to the plight of the parser writer, parsers
get written rarely, and HTML gets written or amended often, so the
balance of simplicity and effort should definitely favour the creation
of HTML at the expense of the parser writer

2) I wonder how much HTML is actually written "by hand" and how much is
generated, these days. HTML and XML assume being written by hand, I
think, which I would guess was a necessary condition for the Web taking

3) But now, it seems mad that a lot of HTML is generated by machines and
other tools and that human readable formats are transferred to other
machines for display purposes. The machines don't need it to be human
readable - in fact that is the cause of the problem, in some ways.

4) If you are writing PHP and you make a mistake it blows up. You don't
expect the interpreter to guess what you meant. But you do expect
browsers to consume the broken HTML that is created by your PHP to do
exactly that.

5) HTML5 seems on the face of it to perpetuate this thinking. Would it
be better to create a non human readable format that you can't
reasonably write by hand, if it's important to reduce the complexity of
parsers? If that's not important why is validity such a big deal?

6) Given we live in the world we do, where browsers do put up with any
old nonsense, and noting Dom's comments earlier in this thread about
errors you should care about, vs ones that you shouldn't, should we not
in BP be taking a stand against strict validity, and limit ourselves to
proper problems? How would we do that?


> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> Behalf Of Jeff Sonstein
> Sent: 05 March 2008 19:07
> To: Sean Owen
> Cc: Mobile Web Best Practices Working Group WG
> Subject: Re: Statistics on mobileOK Basic
> On Mar 5, 2008, at 12:33 PM, Sean Owen wrote:
> > I think we agree then. I suppose I'm saying that XML is how you get
> > well-formedness and that is without question important. What I am
> > referring to is the fact that XHTML imposes more in its schema/DTD
> > beyond well-formedness, like, "<span> must appear in <p>" or things
> > like that.
> what can appear inside of what
> is an integral part of wellformedness
> [sounds of English teachers rolling in graves]
> > Could some of that have been removed, and would it have
> > hurt its goals, and would that have left more valid documents out
> > there, and would that have been a net win? Because right now few
> > people are apparently following the rules. If I'm opening any can of
> > worms, it's that one.
> it is a good "can" to open from time to time
> I'd bet what you were thinking of was *simplification* of the standard
> and I'd also bet that most of the problems encountered in test
> would not have been helped by an even simpler sub-set of XHTML
> > One more example from mobileOK: there are three ways to specify a
> > character encoding in an XHTML doc: HTTP header, XML header, <meta>
> > tag.
> here the issue is *who* is asserting things...
> the server may be set to say it is one thing in the response headers
> and the content creator may want to over-ride that in the content
> putting the XML declaration in the beginning of the file itself like
> this:
>      <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
> is frankly quite often *not* done...
> more often the author uses the meta tag like this:
>    <meta http-equiv="content-type" content="application/xhtml+xml;
> charset=utf-8" />
> to insure that the browser understands what is going on
> (even if the server returns bogus data in the HTTP response header)
> and many times the author fails to include an XML declaration
> as a proper preamble to the document
> so really what we have in this example
> is two methods by which the content creator can
> over-ride the encoding claims of the server in the response header(s)
> > I am sorry, this is a tangent...
> maybe not...
> this sort of discussion about XHTML-Mobile
> ends up meaning things like
> having a script node in the head
> or letting an element use an event attribute
> [two very common practices]
> might no longer make the checker freak out
> for example
> all of us do ham-fisted things when coding
> and we fail to rapidly lose old patterns of work...
> me no less than others
> I keep forgetting and end up with content-type declarations
> that say it is "text/html" instead of the recommended "application/
> xhtml+xml"
> for example...
> oh well
> <grin/>
> I guess my point is that
> talking periodically about
> the language as theory
> and the language as people really practice it
> is A Good Thing
> esp in the context of a "Best Practices" document...
> gotta stay rooted in reality
> how did I ramble on so much?
> sorry
> jeffs
> --
> "[W]hat really happened after the U.S. invasion is that what
> little Iraqi state existed just fell apart in our hands, like a
> broken vase. And then Rummy let the shards get looted.
> So yes, when the Bush team says rebuilding Iraq is like
> rebuilding Germany, it's half right. It is like rebuilding
> Germany, but not post-World War II Germany. It is like
> rebuilding medieval, pre-modern Germany - the Germany
> of clans and feudal fiefs, before there was a state."
> - Thomas Friedman -
> ============
> Prof. Jeff Sonstein
> Director, MS-IT Program

Received on Wednesday, 12 March 2008 16:24:39 UTC