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Re: Why Microsoft's authoritative=true won't work and is a bad idea

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Sun, 6 Jul 2008 08:42:40 +0000 (UTC)
To: Sam Ruby <rubys@us.ibm.com>
Cc: HTTP Working Group <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>, "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0807060827210.11210@hixie.dreamhostps.com>

On Sat, 5 Jul 2008, Sam Ruby wrote:
> >
> > With what the spec says, which is the status quo plus or minus the 
> > delta between implementations, we have already run through the people 
> > making the mistakes and have already gotten to a pretty stable steady 
> > state.
> Simply put, I'm not seeing the "status quo" that you describe here. 

Maybe you have only been checking the small set of cases that are not 
interoperable (the "delta between implementations"). By and large, 
browsers all do the same thing. There are certainly many edge cases (and 
some cases that aren't quite so "edge") where browsers differ to some 
extent, but the delta between the various behaviours browsers have today 
and a single description of what various behaviours browsers have today is 
far smaller, almost by definition, that the delta between the various 
behaviours browsers have today and the behaviour of the authoritative=true 
parameter. Hence the latter is further from the steady state.

> http://feedvalidator.org/testcases/atom/1.1/brief-noerror.xml
> When I visit that page, I would like the text "No errors should be 
> produced by the minimal feed" to be visible.

If you would like the document to be processed as plain text, then there 
might not be a good answer for you, sorry. Your use case is incompatible 
with the use case of the many users who want to see feeds sent as 
text/plain handled as feeds. Enough people mislabel their feeds as 
text/plain that in practice documents labeled as text/plain are, in some 
browsers, sniffed for feeds before being treated as plain text.

This is one of the areas where the delta between implementations is 
non-zero, though, and the spec does currently suggest treating that 
document as plain text despite it looking like a feed, since that is what 
some browsers do and it is the better technical solution theoretically.

I would like the aforementioned browsers to change to line up with what 
the spec says. From Boris' comments, apparently even some of the 
developers of those browsers would like to change, but it seems it's not 
that simple. These things rarely are. Maybe the spec will have to change 
instead, and the browsers that handle this as text/plain will have to 
start sniffing for the feed.

Either way, interoperability will hopefully be reached, so that all 
browsers act the same and the users and authors don't have to be surprised 
with differing behaviour.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Sunday, 6 July 2008 08:43:19 UTC

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