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

Re: Versioning and html[5]

From: Arne Johannessen <arne@thaw.de>
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 03:57:08 +0100
To: Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>
Message-Id: <115CDCA3-EC0C-45F3-A800-26E4E8CDC280@thaw.de>

On 22 Jan 2008, Chris Wilson wrote:
> 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.

I have to say that I'm having real trouble understanding this  
proposal. I don't see it solving any of Microsoft's problems --  
unless you presume that they will still be maintaining IE7 and IE8  
modes in Internet Explorer twenty years from now, which I don't think  
is likely. I expect that at some point Microsoft will be forced to  
drop support for pages flagged as 'IE7' because the cost of  
supporting the older rendering modes and fixing their security issues  
becomes prohibitive.

Thus I expect content to break in IE at that point *anyway*. In fact,  
since this proposal would enable IE to continue supporting old  
content without changes beyond flagging them as 'IE7', I think the  
amount of content that would eventually break would likely be about  
the same as if IE8 had no 'IE7' mode.

While this proposal doesn't seem to improve the situation for  
Microsoft, it makes the situation significantly worse for other  
vendors. For them be able to compete, they, too, would need to  
implement different rendering modes based on the presence of 'IE='  
flags. In effect this perpetuates the catch-up game other vendors are  
still playing, attempting to reverse-engineer the behaviour of  
Internet Explorer.

In one line, it Breaks The Web.

Seeing as this is a rather negative outcome, I guess it's likely I  
misunderstood or misjudged something; in that case, I'd like to  
politely request correction and clarification about the intentions  
and long-term effects of the proposal.


> 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.

I understand Microsoft is the only vendor experiencing the problem of  
a large number of users having broken content with the current HTML5  
draft. It is unclear to me why any other vendor would want to  
implement a system designed as a solution for something they  
apparently don't perceive as a problem.

-- 
Arne Johannessen
Received on Wednesday, 23 January 2008 03:09:48 UTC

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