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

Re: An HTML language specification vs. a browser specification

From: Geoffrey Sneddon <foolistbar@googlemail.com>
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2008 16:36:19 +0000
Cc: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-Id: <9039737B-B711-48EA-964F-715C33902D19@googlemail.com>
To: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>

On 18 Nov 2008, at 03:11, Roy T. Fielding wrote:

>> 3. Authors when writing Web pages do not attempt to make their  
>> pages look
>>   like they want in the browser they use.
>> Based on the feedback one sees in authoring community discussion  
>> groups,
>> it appears that authors do in fact check that their new content  
>> renders as
>> they desire in contemporary browsers. If you disagree, could you
>> demonstrate why you believe this is not the case?
> Of course they do.  They also think that adding an entry using
> Wordpress is authoring HTML.  What's your point?

Those who author HTML fragments within a CMS such as WordPress are far  
more likely to just check it appears as they want in their browser.  
Their content is a non-negligible amount, and as such backwards  
compatibility with these pages is important.

To make a more extreme example, Bebo allows authors to enter arbitrary  
HTML (filtered through a short whitelist of elements/attributes). To  
speak for the majority of my friends, they have no clue there is any  
such thing as an HTML standard, and wouldn't care about to complying  
to such a standard even if they knew it existed, as for them all they  
care is they can format their text as they want (hello b and i  
elements). Social networking sites are far from small, and are more or  
less exclusively viewed through browsers (often due to authentication  
being required to view pages), and as such any browser that broke  
compatibility with the garbage on them would not be popular, even if  
it did comply to every standard in the world. How browsers deal with  
such markup is important, and is how other tools must behave to remain  
compatible with the content. If we want to define how to parse HTML,  
we have to look at browsers.

Geoffrey Sneddon
Received on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 16:36:57 UTC

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