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Re: ISSUE-54: doctype-legacy-compat

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@us.ibm.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 07:14:39 -0500
To: Jirka Kosek <jirka@kosek.cz>
Cc: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <OF65ADE68C.C8E5537A-ON85257540.003DC383-85257540.004342AB@us.ibm.com>

Jirka Kosek <jirka@kosek.cz> wrote on 01/09/2009 04:53:21 AM:
> Sam Ruby wrote:
> > The suggestion was made that the name of this doctype be changed from
> > xslt-compat to legacy-compat.  Expressing support for this idea were
> > hsivonen, DanC, anne, gsnedders, smedero, and myself.  (Note: I believe
> > that Julian was also OK with this idea too, but didn't manage to scribe
> > that)
> >
> > Any objections?
> I'm fine with this change. It's good that XSLT and other "legacy"
> content producer are satisfied. Let's move on something more
interesting ;-)

There are two problems preventing moving on.

First, we have an editor who did not participate in yesterday's call, nor
in the call the week before it, has chosen to Warnock[1] this thread, has
indicated that he does not and will not follow consensus[2], and doesn't
carry tracker items[3].

Second, Chris Wilson has indicated[4] that he is not happy with
legacy-compat, and at that point we no longer have consensus.

>From a technical perspective, here is my understanding of the problem.  The
following string is the smallest and simplest string that will trigger
standards compatibility mode in all browsers (there was some confusion over
this, but that was resolved[5]) and can be produced by all known tools.

<!DOCTYPE html "">

If the goal was to promote a single DOCTYPE, this would be it.

One possible objection is that the above DOCTYPE contains three unnecessary
characters, and by promoting a least common denominator approach, we are
penalizing everybody in order to accommodate a relative few.

One solution to that is to make those three characters optional.  Optional
quotes are not without precedent within HTML, but some want to go further
and make the string pejorative[6] in order to discourage its use.

The current editor's draft follows[7] the pejorative approach, singling out
XSLT in a way that may be inappropriate[8].  The only alternative proposed
which does not single out any specific tool, namely "legacy-compat", may be

Going forward, I would appreciate it if everybody with an opinion on the
subject would weigh in on which of the following options they could live

1) Single DOCTYPE, with a null quoted string

2) DOCTYPE with an optional null quoted string

3) Two DOCTYPES: one "preferred" with no quoted string, and one
"pejorative" with the value "legacy-compat".

4) Two DOCTYPES: one with no quoted string, and one with a value of
"XSLT-compat" that should not be used unless the document is generated from

Note the way I phrased this.  "could live with".  This is not a question of
"prefer" vs "not happy with".  I'm looking for actual reasons to actively
exclude any of the above options.  Furthermore, if you want to indicate why
you can not live with an option, I would expect that you would be able to
explain why.

And, yes, I fully realize that by asking people to express their opinions
in this way I am coming right up on the edge of what Ian refers to as quite
the extreme example of spec design by committee[10].

- Sam Ruby

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warnocked
[2] http://intertwingly.net/blog/2008/11/20/Half-Full#c1227317561
[3] http://krijnhoetmer.nl/irc-logs/html-wg/20090115#l-476
[4] http://krijnhoetmer.nl/irc-logs/html-wg/20090115#l-702
[5] http://krijnhoetmer.nl/irc-logs/html-wg/20090108#l-843
[6] http://krijnhoetmer.nl/irc-logs/html-wg/20090115#l-705
[8] http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=6336
[9] http://krijnhoetmer.nl/irc-logs/html-wg/20090115#l-701
[10] http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=5803#c21
Received on Friday, 16 January 2009 12:15:30 UTC

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