W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > March 1998

Re: Who started "INvalidated HTML!"? -Reply

From: Stephanos Piperoglou <sp249@cam.ac.uk>
Date: Sat, 14 Mar 1998 03:18:54 +0000 (GMT)
To: Charles Peyton Taylor <CTaylor@wposmtp.nps.navy.mil>
cc: connolly@w3.org, www-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.96.980314025747.193B-100000@teatime.joh.cam.ac.uk>
On Fri, 13 Mar 1998, Charles Peyton Taylor wrote:

> The important point is that even though the HTML hooks 
> for style sheets have changed very little in the last 
> year (or is it two years already?) there is no DTD 
> marked "standard" that supports them.  The references 
> to HTML 4.0 always say "recommendation".  This is nice 
> loophole for vendors who would claim to support all 
> "standards" (but not "recommendations".) This might be 
> pendantic of me, but I would prefer a "standard".

[FLAMETHROWER ON, you have been warned]

Excuse me, WHAT STANDARD? Yes, HTML 2.0 is an ISO standard. You think
IE4/NN4 stick to it? Of course they don't. And they don't stick to HTML 3.2
either. I'm currently writing an article/tutorial on HTML implementations
and it's slowly becoming obvious to me HOW broken these implementations are.
Even these simple, supposedly veiled claims of standards compliance are
false. It's important for people to know that the W3C is *not* a
standardization body. It's also important for people to know that the W3C is
not an independant body of purists/techies coming up with conservative
solutions; it's a forum, essentially, for comapanies and other factors of
the Web "industry", with open discussion on this list. I've grown sick of
seeing mention of W3C "standards" in otherwise respectable information
sources. I'm also upset at people harping about how browser X is, or
attempts to be, HTML x.y or CSS? compliant.

We all know that both major market browsers have sacrificed standards
compliance in favour of backwards compatibility. Netscape was always worried
that web pages that displayed under an old version would be broken under a
new version, and hence carried implementation bugs (oh, I'm sorry,
implementation ISSUES) up to the fourth generation. And IE was initially so
caught up in mimicking Netscape in implementation so people would not prefer
it over IE, that it copied most of the bugs. And now we're in a feature
race, especially when it comes to DOM/scripting, and the two browsers look
as much alike as, well, two things that aren't very much alike :-)

All these campaigns that have sprung up (www.anybrowser.org is another
example) prompt people to adopt "standard" X and stick to it for this or
that reason. But the end result is that most information publishers ignore
these people as purists, and code to browsers anyway. The PROBLEM with is is
that the W3C and its "standards" are usually wrapped up and thrown in the
bit bucket along with these people because their mention of "standards"
makes them look like they're somehow expressing a view of the W3C. And as
long as implementations differ from W3C recommendations (read: for ever)
this thing is going to perpetuate. I wish the people that write about W3C
"standards", and that includes purists/campaigners, information publishers,
and client manufacturers would get their facts STRAIGHT before they write
about things they don't know.

The W3C is a wonderful thing. I've been on this list for over two years and
I've seen some impressive things happen; Suggestions from this list have
wound up in recommendations, and the W3C had turned from a slow, relatively
ignored body that churned out an HTML recommendation about 2 years after the
contents have been implemented into an organization that is effectively
producing specifications that can be used for future implementations. I
think it is horrible that people will commit what can only be considered
slander against such a body.


-- Stephanos Piperoglou -- sp249@cam.ac.uk -------------------
All I want is a little love and a lot of money. In that order.
------------------------- http://www.thor.cam.ac.uk/~sp249/ --
Received on Friday, 13 March 1998 22:20:51 UTC

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