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Re: legacy of incompetence? [was: a compromise to the versioning debate]

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2007 21:44:52 -0700
Message-Id: <8BDDBBFF-E0F0-4D54-8E90-A4F3082222CC@apple.com>
Cc: "Dailey, David P." <david.dailey@sru.edu>, Alexander Graf <a.graf@aetherworld.org>, public-html@w3.org
To: "Preston L. Bannister" <preston@bannister.us>

On Apr 15, 2007, at 9:09 PM, Preston L. Bannister wrote:

> On 4/15/07, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com> wrote:
> On Apr 15, 2007, at 1:42 PM, Preston L. Bannister wrote:
>> One extreme interpretation of the proposed compatibility  
>> principles is that HTML-next describes a parser and interpreter  
>> that can handle any past W3C version or browser variant of HTML.   
>> In this case, version specifiers become unnecessary (and some of  
>> the prior discussion makes more sense).
> That is exactly the goal that is proposed for this group (although  
> not all vendors may choose to take advantage of it).
> Is this possible without breaking existing applications?  This is  
> where the IE-folk probably know more than anyone else.  End users  
> are not at all amused when their applications stop working, and you  
> know what?  The customer is always right.  If the IE-folk are  
> convinced that versionless HTML can be well described in  
> specification, and not break existing applications - then (and only  
> then) this is a great idea.

The IE folks do not want to use the HTML5 spec for content that  
declares earlier versions of HTML. But I believe that, at least  
provisionally, Safari, Opera and Mozilla plan to do this. I trust  
that if any of us run into serious compatibility issues, we would  
report them back to the working group and lobby for a spec change.

> Actually there are two questions here:  1) can it be done, and 2)  
> will the resulting specification be not-painful to read.  Sounds  
> like this specification would have to exactly describe how IE  
> interprets HTML.

I'm not sure this is the case. If IE doesn't want to use the spec  
this way, then it only needs to go as far in emulating IE as will  
lead to correctly handing more content rather than less for the  
relatively more standards-compliant browsers.

I think HTML5 is fairly readable so far, although there are indeed  
algorithms that are fairly complex.

Received on Monday, 16 April 2007 04:45:22 UTC

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