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

Re: HTML syntax

From: Dean Edridge <dean@55.co.nz>
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 18:36:13 +1300
To: Thomas Broyer <t.broyer@gmail.com>
Cc: public-html@w3.org
Message-id: <474E4FCD.2040107@55.co.nz>

Thomas Broyer wrote:
> 2007/11/21, Dean Edridge:
>> I never said that wordpress was capable of producing valid XHTML. I'm
>> well aware that it doesn't.
>> Please read the thread. The thread is about whether or not to normalise
>> the "quoted" or "no quoted" attibute habits and void element syntaxes
>> between the two serialisations.
> So you'd want HTML documents to look like XHTML ones yet not being
> "XML-wellformed", and with some differences on the parsing side,
> leading to incompatibilities wrt scripting and styling (think TBODY,
> TABLE/OL/UL inside P, etc.)

The other differences between HTML and XHTML is not what I am talking 
about here. That can be addressed separately. The proposal is not to 
solve all the differences between the two serialisations, but to 
increase the usability/compatibility of HTML and XHTML in the future, as 
the two serialisations will both be used on the web in the future, just 
like they are today.

I don't think it's wise or logical to ask schools and universities to 
teach students HTML like this:

    <img id=logo src=logo.png alt=something>

    <p class=intro>Readable Markup

and when the next semester rolls around, and the students come back to 
learn XHTML or SVG etc, they'll need to learn a whole new syntax:

    <img id="logo" src="logo.png" alt="something" />

    <p class="intro">Readable Markup</p>

Problems like this can easily be avoided by only allowing the stricter 
syntax in the spec like:

    <img id="logo" src="logo.png" alt="something" />

    <p class="intro">Readable Markup</p> 

> This would bring even more confusion, rather than solve anything.

Not true.

> The primary goal of the "parsing" section of the spec is to define a
> parser compatible with what browsers do today (this cannot be entirely
> true given that browsers have incompatible behaviours in some cases),
> so that a browser that implements this section can be used with HTML
> 4, HTML3, tag soup, etc. pages found in the wild.
> If you want to build a stricter parser, new browsers will have to
> implement another "tag soup" parser and a switching mechanism between
> its two parsers.

Nonsense, and again, irrelevant, todays browsers already accept the 
stricter syntax that I have suggested. You have used Wordpress before 
haven't you?
Are you suggesting that the average Wordpress Blog (parsed as text/html) 
is not supported by Firefox2, IE7 or Safari2.x ?
More people use:
<img id="logo" src="logo.png" alt="something" />
than this:
<img id=logo src=logo.png alt=something>

So to say that a stricter syntax would require a new browser or parser 
is not true.

> Clearly, in this situation, no-one would want to
> build a new browser, that'd be far too much work (moreover given that
> there are some good open-source ones already).

Who said anything about making a stricter parser? Who said anything 
about making a new browser? Not me.
As I said above, the stricter syntax (including "/>") is already 
supported by most widely used browsers.

> If you only want to set "best practices" and still have a parsing
> algorithm like the one already in the HTML5 spec, be sure that most
> people won't follow your syntax rules: if the parser accomodates with
> unquoted attribute values, why should I bother quoting them? (among
> other things).

You don't seem to have read or understood the thread. The point of a 
stricter syntax is that it is interoperable with XML based languages. 
Which authors are going to need to use at some stage.

> I was heartedly promoting XHTML a few years ago, that's no longer the
> case: I've learned to be more pragmatic.

What is the relevance of this? Sorry, but I think you are still missing 
the point. This thread is not about HTML vs XHTML.
If people look at this discussion with an open mind, and without the oh 
so common "I hate XHTML, let's deprecate it" attitude, they will soon 
see that it's not about your, or my preferred serialisation/syntax. It's 
about enforcing a syntax that would work on both serialisations and 
therefore make it easier for authors to choose between the two 
serialisations; therefore giving the people of the world the option of 
being able to use either HTML or XHTML.

Insisting that it be more difficult to use XHTML/XML than it needs to 
be, would in essence only give the world the option of one 
serialisation: text/html.

What part of "Leading the web to it's full potential" makes you and 
others with similar views to yours think that it's a good idea to just 
have HTML and not XHTML available to the world?
Seems selfish and short-sighted to me, to say the least.

The (possible) beauty of this (X)HTML5 specification is that the world 
doesn't have to just use HTML, or just use XHTML, they can have the 
choice of both.

Let's not take this choice away from them please.

Dean Edridge
Received on Thursday, 29 November 2007 05:51:42 UTC

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