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RE: FW: AuthConfReq: Presentational Markup

From: Larry Masinter <LMM@acm.org>
Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2010 21:10:14 -0700
To: "'Leif Halvard Silli'" <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Cc: "'HTML WG'" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000301cad088$118503a0$348f0ae0$@org>
Sorry if I was being terse but I think you flipped a sign bit.

The main thrust of my message was around being clearer about
conformance classes, as a better way of framing the discussion
about "Presentational Markup".

I don't think there was sufficient justification for changing
features that were deprecated in HTML4 into non-conforming
in HTML5 if

* They are widely implemented (consistently)
* They are widely used

Even if there are (arguably) better ways of accomplishing
the same task. So I favor leaving <font> as deprecated
(which I think is the formal term for "obsolete but
conforming"), or possibly just giving up and leaving it

The argument about style sheets vs. inline markup in
the IETF HTML working group prior was one of the
major battles in the IETF process, for which the
quieter (!) W3C process could make progress.

See, for example, my 1996 tutorial on 
"the state of web standards"
(page 64, or for the ISO 32000 wary:

The debate over inline style
(<FONT> or equivalent)

    * People want it
    * They'll misuse it

    * Inline style displays faster incrementally
    * Precomputed styles

    * It's easier to enter inline markup
    * Automated tools make styles just as easy

    * "Give them rope"
    * "They'll hang themselves" 

I don't think the arguments have changed much
in the last 14 years.


-----Original Message-----
From: Leif Halvard Silli [mailto:xn--mlform-iua@målform.no] 
Sent: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 4:40 PM
To: Larry Masinter
Subject: Re: FW: AuthConfReq: Presentational Markup

Larry Masinter, Tue, 30 Mar 2010 15:59:25 -0700:
> I'd suggest is a clearer separation of conformance classes […]
> (a) document conformance: […]
> (b) authoring conformance: […]
> (c) validator conformance: […]
> as well as being clearer about the distinction between:
> (d) document processor conformance: […]
> (e) user agent conformance: […]
> (f) browser conformance: […]

> Some opinions (to be turned into more concrete edits or bug
> reports, if anyone agrees with these):
>  (a) I would argue against making any previously valid content invalid
>      unless
> (1) it was never implemented as specified
> (2) there is demonstrable harm to others that making the feature
>   invalid will repair.
> For "interoperability", documents (a) need to be accepted by
> all document processors (d).  Conforming documents should be
> conservative (robustness principle) even though document processors
> are liberal.
> I would argue that presentational markup don't meet these criteria.

6 different conformance classes. But not a single definition of what 
'presentational markup' is? E.g. isn't the @target attribute 
presentational? It is previously (that is: now) valid, but only in 
transitional doctypes. I think <font> belongs in a league of its own - 
both when it comes to its presentational-ness as well as when it comes 
to the question of whether it should be permitted to live on. But the 
rest of the presentational features (from HTML4), if they do any harm, 
then what can it be demonstrated to be?
leif halvard silli
Received on Wednesday, 31 March 2010 04:10:50 UTC

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