W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > April 2007

RE: Versioning and html[5]

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2007 23:04:35 +0000 (UTC)
To: Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>
Cc: "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0704122251190.13484@dhalsim.dreamhost.com>

On Thu, 12 Apr 2007, Chris Wilson wrote:
> I agree with your premise (don't break the web) but not your conclusion 
> (that spec-version information is therefore unnecessary).  Spec 
> versioning will still tell you that your browser isn't new enough to 
> handle, say, that 3d canvas element that gets added in html6.

I don't understand this. Could you elaborate with an example?

> However, having versioning in HTML will allow us to eradicate the need 
> for authors to put this switch in every single document to opt in to 
> good behavior, because we'll know that HTML6 content/apps won't expect 
> to have the bugs we ship IE.next with.

You are suggesting tying a browser-specific set of bugs to a specification 
on a different release cycle. I'm even more against doing that than I am 
against the idea of freezing bugs in the first place. You're free to 
support whatever switches you believe you need in your browser (even if it 
means that it'll be intentionally perpetually non-compliant), but the W3C 
should not condone this or even remotely legitimise it.

If you want the W3C spec to have a version switch, then the spec must 
define how browsers must act *in all the versions that the switch 
supports*. That means that if you want a switch (or the lack of a switch) 
to imply that IE7 behaviour must happen, *we absolutely must specify 
exactly what IE7 does* so that other browsers can implement it too.

Maybe it would help, however, if instead of assuming that compliance to 
HTML5 will mean broken pages, we worked on the assumption that 
implementing HTML5 correctly will mean all pages work. That's what the 
other browser vendors want, it's what the WHATWG set out to do three years 
ago and has been doing ever since, it's what authors want.

Where HTML5 does break pages, we need to fix the spec. If this means 
getElementById() changes to look for 'name' attributes, sobeit. Sometimes 
it may be that IE's behaviour *can* change because few enough pages depend 
on some edge case that it's ok to change it. Sometimes changes in IE's 
behaviour will, in beta tests, show to be utterly impractical, and then we 
can use this feedback to fix the spec. In the end, all browsers benefit 
from the experience, we improve competition in the browser space, and the 
authors and users benefit.

Assuming from the start that we can never achieve interoperability is 
defeatist in the extreme and compromises the entire point of standards.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Thursday, 12 April 2007 23:04:39 UTC

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