Re: Publishing a new draft

On Fri, 31 Jul 2009 00:42:33 +0200, Leif Halvard Silli <> wrote:
> Anne,  seeing that Simon too agreed that it would be good if the HTML  
> 4/HTML 5 differences document gave more examples of what it means by  
> "esoteric SGML" features, perhaps you'll do that?

I added processing instructions as another example.

> It is not clear what "esoteric SGML features" means. Here are some  
> things that HTML 4 considers esoteric (Appendix B.3.3 and onwards of  
> HTML 4) but not all of them are:

I don't think being exhaustive here is important. SGML never existed on the Web and typical authors for who this document is intended will not care.

> * <?PI > syntax  (Not esoteric when considering UA support & scripting  
> languages implementation - see the parallel thread.)

If there was user agent support it would end up in the DOM as a ProcessingInstruction node.

> * "</" as "end-tag open delimiter". (Well known to anyone trying to  
> validate a SCRIPT element with HTML code inside. Probably no tears for  
> seeing this "feature" go.)


> * Boolean attributes. (Should be well supported - new ones are even  
> introduced in HTML 5.)

SGML did not have boolean attributes. What SGML had was known values. If you knew the value the parser could figure out which attribute you meant based on the DTD. So if you specify <input readonly> in HTML4 you actually specify <input readonly="readonly"> whereas in HTML5 you specify <input readonly="">. I don't think it's worth bothering the world with this detail that was never implemented as such and never understood except by a rare few.

> * Shorthand markup (Of which the currently mentioned NET syntax is just  
> one example. Another one is the above mentioned "</" which - one could  
> claim - is supported as it produces a "bogus comment". While "<>" -  
> empty start tag - is not supported in any way.)

I don't think one can claim </ is supported syntax on its own.

> In general, it (A) feels fruitless to lump all this together as  
> "esoteric SGML". And (B) many will not understand - it will hamper  
> review - unless you give examples.

This document is a very high-level overview as to what has changed since HTML4. I would be open to the suggestion of not mentioning anything specific and just say that the syntax is no longer SGML-based, which seems to suffice in most blog posts on the matter. I don't think making a big deal out of this will in anyway help anyone.

Anne van Kesteren

Received on Friday, 31 July 2009 13:36:57 UTC