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Re: A suggestion from the public

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 25 Oct 2009 23:50:30 -0500
Message-ID: <dd0fbad0910252150s12a620fby56230e51046ad916@mail.gmail.com>
To: Justin James <j_james@mindspring.com>
Cc: public-html@w3.org
On Sun, Oct 25, 2009 at 11:38 PM, Justin James <j_james@mindspring.com> wrote:
> One of the readers of my column at TechRepublic sent in an item to me, that
> he asked that I raise to the group on his behalf. While I am sure that it
> will not go far in this group, I feel that it is my responsibility to pass
> it along.
> In a nutshell, he asked that we find a way to signal a more traditional
> style of HTML, one similar to HTML 3, in which CSS is not needed to perform
> presentational markup. His suggestion was to use a tag that would indicate
> "everything within here should be treated like older HTML", or possibly to
> use something like DOCTYPE (if not DOCTYPE itself) to indicate that a
> document be treated according to older rules.
> Again, this is something that I am passing along at the request of a reader,
> so take it as you will.
> That being said, while I *personally* understand why the
> presentation/semantic separation achieved with CSS is a major improvement, I
> have been getting a lot of feedback from readers who share frustration that
> the ability to generate a simple document using HTML is getting lost in the
> quest to transform HTML into a development platform. I agree with that
> notion, in that the bar has been raised significantly just to get a simple
> "Hello World" onto the Web since HTML 4. I know that at this stage of the
> HTML 5 game, it's a bit late, but I do feel a duty to raise it as a
> potential topic for discussion.

All of the old presentational markup is still documented in HTML5,
with instructions on how to parse and render it.  It has to be,
because a significant amount of documents on the web are coded in
those old versions of HTML and are very unlikely to be updated.  We
still want to be able to read them, so we still have to codify what
their elements mean.  We just mark them as obsolete and say that they
should not be used by authors, as they are horrible to actually use.

So if anyone wants to use those old elements, they can.  Their
documents will just be nonconforming.  And then, later, they'll be
angry at themselves for doing such a silly thing when they need to
make a site-wide change and every single <font> tag needs to be

Received on Monday, 26 October 2009 04:51:22 UTC

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