Re: Support Existing Content

On May 1, 2007, at 10:27, Roger Johansson wrote:

> On 1 maj 2007, at 02.13, David Hyatt wrote:
>> A spec could include elements that are considered poor practice  
>> and label them as such, and conformance checkers could be designed  
>> to help encourage authors to reach the highest level of  
>> conformance possible (thus avoiding these poor practice elements).

I'm not a big fan of multiple document conformance levels like Strict  
and Transitional. If you make Strict too ideal, people who want the  
ideal badge but forgot the rationale behind the ideals will do  
harmful stuff like work around the lack of target='' by using

I much prefer defining a single concept of document conformance in a  
way that is realistic and accepts "bad" stuff when rejecting the  
"bad" stuff would just lead to authors working for the badge using  
worse stuff.

(Just to clarify: My service does not hand out actual badges at all  
to discourage the badge hunting behavior and to avoid the situation  
where a bug fix makes a page ineligible for the badge and the page  
author complains about the bug fix.)

> I think that is necessary if HTML 5 is to gain any popularity among  
> Web standards-aware developers such as myself.
> Much of the current discussion could be avoided if the spec clearly  
> said something to the extent of "Browsers must implement and render  
> junk markup interoperably, but authors (Web designers, developers,  
> writers, CMS tools, WYSIWYG tools, etc.) must not use any of these  
> deprecated elements and attributes."

That's what the WHATWG HTML5 draft does except it doesn't deprecate  
anything. It either allows something for the purposes of document  
conformance or *obsoletes* something for the purpose of document  
conformance. It still defines processing models for some obsoleted  

For example, <plaintext> has been *obsolete* since almost the dawn of  
the Web. It is still obsolete in WHATWG HTML5, which means that a  
document that uses it is non-conforming. However, WHATWG HTML5 covers  
the processing of <plaintext> for the purposes of UA conformance in  
order to provide information that UA developers need in order to  
support legacy content and to interoperate with legacy UAs.

I think many people have clung too strongly to the wishy-washy word  
"deprecated". The WHATWG draft goes further and outright *obsoletes*  
stuff. I do realize though, that for marketing purposes using the  
word "deprecated" might be more cunning than using the word  
"obsoleted", because people have heard "deprecated" more often and  
may not realize that "obsoleted" is actually stronger than "deprecated".

> Apologies if that is already in the HTML 5 WD. I have not had time  
> to read every word of it.

Well, yeah, much of the current discussion could be avoided by  
reading the draft as well. :-)

> Something that is bugging me (and I think others as well) is the  
> apparent fear browser vendors have of doing anything to encourage  
> people to create better (valid, well-formed, accessible, semantic)  
> markup.

Mozilla (a browser vendor) is funding the development of an HTML5  
conformance checker. Rejecting non-conforming content in browsers is  
not the right way to "encourage" because it would make new browsers  
less permissive and would give the impression to users that old  
browsers work better with real content.

Henri Sivonen

Received on Wednesday, 2 May 2007 10:23:53 UTC