RE: Version information

Anne van Kesteren [] wrote:
><> wrote:
>> We are not specifying HTML 4.01 here.
>We're not? I think a large part of what this group should do is fixing
>HTML4. (A lot of this is already done by the HTML5 proposal.)

Fixing problems with HTML4.01 in HTML 5 (which is based on HTML 4.01), yes.  Rewriting HTML4.01, no.  cf Charter.

>Also, I don't think that introducing versioning for HTML at this point
>would be a good idea. It makes:

We are not introducing it.  The HTML 4.01 doctype contains its version number.  We use that to flip into standards mode, just as other browsers do.

>* authoring more complex;

I don't see how.  You know what version of the spec you're writing to, you put it in the DOCTYPE.  No?  It makes maintaining content easier, because you can expect that the behavior will never change underneath you.

>* testing more complex;

For user agents, yes - we will have to understand the deltas.  Not for content authors.

>* developing new user agents more complex

Yes, unless you just presume that treating HTML < 4.01 the same as HTML 4.01 is okay.  Doing that isn't going to be any worse in terms of compat problems than having a continuously evolving spec for HTML.

>* maintaining existing user agents more complex;

Not really.  You finish HTML 5 support, you're done.  If the spec "changes" in HTML 6, you don't have to change in that support.

>* specifications more complex.

Not for HTML5, because we are a new spec, not a delta spec.  Again, cf Charter.  I don't think it makes the HTML 6 spec any more complex either, as it just calls out deltas from HTML5.

>Another problem is that user agents incrementally evolve and not implement
>a complete specification perfectly in one go. They'll have bugs in their
>initial implementation of features, et cetera.

Look, we absolutely cannot change our behavior in rendering HTML 4.01 as we do today.  It is just a fantastically bad idea, for document authors and users.  As I said:
> I'm happy to make HTML >4.01 have behavior based on "compromising
> details where existing implementations disagree," even when that means
> IE needs to change behavior - but not in a situation where that would
> break compatibility with a current web page.

If the document author is opting into those changes, I have no problem with it.  We cannot have a continuously evolving HTML spec, that no one (document author or UA implementer) can rely on not changing.  That is a recipe for continuous compatibility problems.


Received on Friday, 6 April 2007 18:17:42 UTC