W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > January 2008

RE: Versioning and html[5]

From: Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 04:23:34 -0800
To: Smylers <Smylers@stripey.com>, "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <14636E983DBC96408C4D669AFA9B86C02FD20E109E@NA-EXMSG-W602.wingroup.windeploy.ntdev.microsoft.com>

Smylers wrote:
>This sounds to be what IE will be doing, though it's explained here in a
>way which isn't specific to IE and which suggests codifying the release
>of other browsers being used is also useful:
>
>  http://www.alistapart.com/articles/beyonddoctype

Indeed.  Aaron thinks it would be useful in other browsers.  As I have little day-to-day experience working around problems in other browsers, I am ambivalent, and have always told my team internally that although I would like a solution that could be adopted by other browsers if they chose, I'm under no delusion that those here in the HTML WG from other browsers would.

>It's also unclear what a user-agent that isn't any of the 3 named there
>(such as one written from scratch) should do on encountering the above
>declaration.  Presumably it should try to emulate the behaviour of IE8
>and Firefox 3, even though those behaviours aren't specced anywhere?

No; it should give whatever it chooses to give as its default behavior.

>As Ian pointed out...
>> As is *still happening today* with quirks mode, other browsers will be
>> forced to implement the quirks in order to be compatible with the
>> content that was intended to IE. Introducing a new version freeze
>> every few years will increase the complexity of building a browser by
>> orders of magnitude.

No, because as is *already happening today*, other browsers have different behavior, and web developers will write to their behavior in their implementations.  If an intelligent web designer wants to write content that works in all browsers (which I think we all would agree is the goal here), then simply insert the IE meta tag with the current version of IE you're testing with, and write away.  What's that?  You're not even loading your page in IE to check it?   Okay, then, perhaps you would like to use "edge" mode.

>> The alternative is to write the spec in such a way that implementing
>> it does not cause significant breakage. Given that I want to write a
>> spec that describes how to render the content in _all_ of IE's modes
>> -- quirks, today's standards, tomorrow's standards --

That spec is not the HTML5 spec, or the CSS 2.1 spec, as they do not capture all the "idiosyncrasies" of IE6.  I do not expect Firefox to replicate our IE6 overflow behavior in "standards mode" in the future; indeed, I expect there's lots of content out there already that expects them to follow the spec, whilst simultaneously that same content probably expects IE to not follow the spec.  This is the core of our problem - single content that expects different behavior from different browsers today.  Many of you are treating this as if it doesn't exist, while I expect nearly every single web-developer-for-hire in the world has written workaround code at one point or another.

-Chris Wilson

PS don't expect quick responses from me right now, I'm on vacation.  Back later this week.
Received on Tuesday, 22 January 2008 12:23:51 UTC

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