W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > whatwg@whatwg.org > June 2007

[whatwg] Using the HTML5 DOCTYPE as a new quirksmode switch

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2007 05:11:35 +0000 (UTC)
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.64.0706190507160.26929@dhalsim.dreamhost.com>
On Sat, 10 Mar 2007, Robert Brodrecht wrote:
> On Mar 10, 2007, at 4:37 PM, Matthew Ratzloff wrote:
> > 
> > The seem to serve the purpose.  If there are two HTML 5 
> > specifications, browser makers can come together to decide which one 
> > to support by default when no DOCTYPE is present.  Developers who 
> > would prefer the alternate standard could use the appropriate DOCTYPE.
> 
> Browsers render in quirksmode by default.  That's been established.  At 
> this point WHATWG has already rejected DTDs in DOCTYPE and seems pretty 
> set on not including it.  I myself would rather have some type of 
> versioning (DTD or otherwise) in the DOCTYPE.  All I've heard from 
> WHATWG is that they don't really even like the DOCTYPE.  If browsers 
> didn't use DOCTYPE as the standards mode switch, DOCTYPE probably 
> wouldn't even be in WHATWG's HTML 5.
> 
> I'm sure most people have heard the saying "Choose your battles."  
> Fighting for DTDs or some other type of versioning in the DOCTYPE in 
> WHATWG's spec is not a fight that can be won as far as I can tell.  
> Having some method to tell people what spec an author is using can be 
> won.

It's not that it's a fight that can't be won, it's just that the arguments 
I've heard from people about why they think we shouldn't have versioning 
information are more convincing than the arguments from those who think we 
should have versioning information.

(The arguments against versioning appeal to evidence that having 
versioning actively harms the Web and threatens the ability for 
competiting browsers to exist; the arguments in favour tend to be more 
about solving theoretical problems. It's an easy choice, really.)


> If there is no versioning system, there is no way to specify an 
> "alternate standard."

Whatever happens, there'll only be one successful HTML standard on the 
Web. We don't need a technical means to chose between them, the market 
will do that for us.

In any case, we just have the one standard right now (since the W3C and 
WHATWG are working on the same document).

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Monday, 18 June 2007 22:11:35 UTC

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