[whatwg] <output> and onforminput

Jim Ley jim.ley at gmail.com
Mon Jun 21 07:29:45 PDT 2004

On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 13:50:31 +0000 (UTC), Ian Hickson <ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
> On Mon, 21 Jun 2004, Jim Ley wrote:
> I think you are reading way too much into "backwards compatible".
> HTML4+ECMAScript is "backwards compatible" with Lynx.

Sure it is, but HTML4 + WF2 is not - since you're over constraining
things like datetime which mean they do not work in a non-WF2 browser
without particularly aware users.  Consider datetime input, it
requires the client to send back the time in UTC, so a non WF2 UA
can't do this unless the user inputs it in UTC.  The other types have
similar problems - CSS and script degradation is fine, and works since
the data transferred across HTTP is equivalent in both instances, as
soon as we have forms which have different semantics in WF2 and legacy
browsers we don't have that.

I can't use a WF2 page in Opera 6, unless the server is intelligent
enough to cope with it (and how it's supposed to know it's a WF2
client hasn't yet been explained) or I happen to enter the dead right

> You said that you half-agreed
> with the backwards-compatibility argument presented at the recent
> workshop; which part did you _not_ agree with?

No, I didn't say I argeed to that, I said I voted for the work to
improve and extend HTML 4 within the W3, I support graceful
degradation, but very little of the WF2 content does gracefully
degrade other than on a purely visual sense, the interaction
environment with the server doesn't degrade gracefully.

> The idea is that with WHATWG-spec-based documents, you still get most of
> the content. Just like when HTML4 came out, and UAs only did HTML3.2. Or
> when CSS came out and UAs only did HTML.

but getting the content in a form is completely useless when it
doesn't work!  CSS doesn't change the semantics (well that's actually
rubbish as lots of people use it to, and abuses like content do, but
in general CSS doesn't) WF2 doesn't degrade like CSS, it maybe could,
but the spec needs a lot of changing before that happens.

> What do you mean by backwards compatibility, in the context of new
> specifications like this?

The content works in existing UA's - I do not believe the WF2 spec
meets that goals in all but a minor part of it.

The whole spec seems to be missing both use-cases (what is the use
case of a UTC datetime control?) and realistic descriptions of how it
degrade, publish some WF2 applications, show us how they degrade in
todays browsers!


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