[whatwg] Re: DOCTYPE shouldn't be optional

Malcolm Rowe malcolm-what at farside.org.uk
Wed Jul 7 10:42:48 PDT 2004

Hi Ian, 

Ian Hickson writes:
>> [Compound documents not defined, W3C TAG issue]
> I don't really buy that it isn't defined. A lot of people seem to think
> that compound documents are An Area That Needs Work, but I don't really
> see it. Specs by and large define how they work and what they mean. Things
> that aren't defined anywhere are meaningless.

I really don't know enough about the issue that the TAG are discussing to 
comment, though I think it essentially boils down to how you can determine 
if a document is 'valid' if it contains elements from multiple namespaces. 
There's no generic way to validate a compound document, for example. 

> For example,
> [good example, snipped]

>> Perhaps you could add a note in the prose about 'strictly conforming
>> XHTML documents'?
> I could, but the note would be: 
>    Note: Documents that use the new features described in this
>    specification cannot be strictly conforming XHTML or HTML4 documents. 
> ...and I'm not sure how that would help anything.

Well, I was particularly referring to the phrase 'strictly conforming XHTML 
documents' as defined in XHTML's conformance section. It's clear to me that 
the XHTML spec expects that if you're only using the XHTML namespace, you'll 
be writing a strictly conforming XHTML document. Since that seems likely to 
be an assumption that other people might make, I thought it might be worth 

For HTML, you're already making it obvious that it won't be HTML4 Strict, I 
think, as you're forcing a different DTD. People aren't as likely to be 
surprised that they're not producing strictly valid HTML documents, imo. 

>> Perhaps you could change the prose to read something like the following: 
>> [...] 
>> These XML documents may contain a DOCTYPE if desired, but this is not
>> required unless the document is intended to be a 'strictly conforming
>> XHTML document' as defined by the XHTML specification [XHTML1]. 
>> Thoughts?

> What's an "HTML document"?
Yes, thought that myself :) 

> But yeah, that text is better than what we have now. Changed.

modulo the last paragraph, which we've already decided doesn't make sense, I 


More information about the whatwg mailing list