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

Re: Support Existing Content

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Fri, 4 May 2007 02:30:23 -0700
Message-Id: <02F829EE-73F5-4230-BEEE-B0610DBC1091@apple.com>
Cc: matt@builtfromsource.com, public-html@w3.org
To: Gareth Hay <gazhay@gmail.com>

On May 4, 2007, at 1:52 AM, Gareth Hay wrote:

> On 4 May 2007, at 08:44, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>>> Do you honestly think that by encouraging people to write more  
>>> correct code is not a help to anyone?
>> To answer for myself: yes, I think encouraging people to write  
>> conforming content is somewhat helpful (though less so than  
>> encouraging them to actually test in multiple browsers). But I do  
>> not think /forcing/ people to write conforming content is a help  
>> to anyone, especially if author mistakes then become problems for  
>> the end user. And when we are talking about draconian error  
>> handling to the point of refusing to render, we're talking about  
>> forcing, not encouraging.
>> So I'd say that I don't think "pro-actively fix[ing]" the web is a  
>> help to anyone, if that is taken to mean an attempt to force  
>> conformance.
>> What's your answer?
> I think that the situation we have just now is untenable.

What's untenable about it? What is the actual harm of noncomforming  
content that you're trying to solve?

> I don't think any form of (your definition) encouragement is going  
> to work, after all, people have been pretty much free to go your  
> way for years and haven't, so let's try (my definition) encouraging  
> them a different way, which prevents them from getting things wrong.

So who is helped by forcing error handling? We've already established  
that "lazy or uneducated authors", browser vendors, and end users  
will all be harmed by such an approach. But you still haven't said  
who will be helped and how.

> [aside: maybe it's because I grew up with "Segmentation Fault"  
> fatal errors that I don't see that kind of error handling as "wrong"]

Yes, most skilled human interface designers would consider it  
unacceptable to show the string "Segmentation Fault" to an end user  
ever, so your tastes in this regard are probably an outlier.

> I think "draconian" error handling leads to a much more educated  
> author.

So "more educated authors" is the benefit you're citing? Is that it?  
You said before that uneducated authors would be harmed. Do you think  
providing them with a forcible education outweighs the harm to them  
and other groups?

> Doesn't  "Parse error : line 5" - tell you all you need to know?

If I loaded http://digg.com and saw that, then no, it would not tell  
me all I need to know. Since what I need to know is the information  
on the page, not a parse error.

> I certainly wouldn't be to adverse to
> 	 "This page was written as HTML5, but it is invalid. Error is 'non- 
> conformity - line 5'. Do you want to try this as html4?"
> Where the browser will attempt to render the page minus the html5  
> doctype declaration.

So you're ok with only annoying and confusing end-users instead of  
preventing them completely from seeing the content. How about we cut  
annoying the user out of the equation as well?

Received on Friday, 4 May 2007 09:30:27 UTC

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