W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > November 2009

Re: XHTML character entity support

From: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
Date: Sat, 31 Oct 2009 22:50:32 -0500
Message-ID: <643cc0270910312050kfc5d6f7w86917471e3c7b9c9@mail.gmail.com>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@mit.edu>, Alexey Proskuryakov <ap@webkit.org>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
On Sat, Oct 31, 2009 at 10:46 PM, Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> I can understand, and not. XHTML from the very beginning had rules
>>> having to do with named entities, and this has always been a
>>> constraint.
>> The problem is that content didn't do a good job of sticking to the narrow
>> path of these rules. I suspect this problem comes from a few unusual
>> conditions: (1) XHTML 1.x validators were validating XML processors, and
>> thus respected the entities and did not flag them as errors; (2) chameleon
>> content served as HTML to some UAs but XHTML to others would work fine in
>> HTML mode with entities. I believe this contributed to pressure for browsers
>> to support the standard XHTML named entities in XHTML in some form. On the
>> other hand, as I said, it's not practical for a browser to be a validating
>> XHTML processor.
>> I think it's a problem with the XHTML specs that they made named entity
>> processing so unpredictable. The wisest thing for new content to do is to
>> never use named entities other than the five predefined by XML.
> Agreed, so lets not propagate the problems.
>  In the
>> meantime, we have some old content already using named entities in XHTML,
>> and it works today in Gecko-based and WebKit-based browsers (and thus, in
>> most browsers that support XHTML at all). (I'm not sure what Opera does
>> offhand.)
>>> Regardless, there is no legacy content for HTML5.
>> HTML5 recommends using no DTD at all for XHTML5 content, or the short HTML5
>> <!doctype html> doctype. I agree that special entity processing is not
>> necessary (or arguably even desirable) in those cases.
> Agree with this.
>  However, when an
>> HTML5 UA is faced with content using an XHTML1 DTD (and probably a short
>> whitelist of other DTDs), it should do the special entity handling. This
>> should be defined by a specification. I think that spec could be HTML5,
>> since it strives to define compatible processing for older versions of HTML
>> and XHTML, such that you can implement HTML5 in an existing browser engine
>> without introducing additional mode switches.
> I think of HTML5 as looking forward, not back.
> I've not seen good, technical reasons for this move. In this thread,
> I've read that browser companies have enabled named entity handing
> because of compatibility bugs, even though the bugs were, technically,
> invalid. I've read that since this is what has happened in the past,
> seemingly we'll have to support it in the future. And lastly, since
> some browsers have implemented this approach, HTML5 should make it all
> OK.
> Shelley

Regardless of this discussion, Alexey, you need to submit a bug for
this. I checked earlier, and haven't seen one.

There is a possibility the bug could be escalated to an issue. That's
not a bad thing, just that we'll probably have a proposal and
counter-proposal and based on the technical merits of the discussion,
a decision will be made.

This will provide a "paper trail", in case someone asks five years
from now, why the heck the WG made whatever decision we made.

Received on Sunday, 1 November 2009 03:51:01 UTC

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