[whatwg] [WA1] The profile Attribute

James Graham jg307 at cam.ac.uk
Mon Apr 18 07:34:36 PDT 2005

Lachlan Hunt wrote:

> James Graham wrote:
>> Having namespaces only where conflicts occur strikes me as unwise - 
>> in general the author is unlikely to know what the complete range of 
>> values in a given spec is and it makes documents very fragile to 
>> addition of data from new profiles and to addition of values to 
>> existing profiles. 
> That same argument also applies where there are no namespaces at all, 
> however introducing optional namespaces may also address the concerns 
> against namespaces.

I strongly feel that by trying to make it simpler, you're actually 
succeeding in making it harder. You require authors to accumulate 
information from multiple siources in order to read or write a document. 
You require that they _know_ the rules surrounding namespaces because it 
would be impossible to infer the rules from a document.

>> It also makes view-source style learning hard because...
> View-source learning is already hard because most documents on the web 
> are non-conformant and invalid rubbish.

Most documents on the web are a direct result of view-source style 
learning. If they're invalid rubbish, it's (at least partly) because 
spec writers have erronously assumed that the majority of authors would 
have enough of a clue to check things like whether there were conflicts 
between diffrent profiles they were using. In fact, the fact that 
authors won't check for conflicts is one reason that namespaces *should* 
be used for profiles - and we should encourage authors to use them as 
much as possible so that every value assosiated with a profile is 
assosiated explicitly. Authors simply won't read the part of the spec 
that explains why including multiple profiles is a bad idea, will 
include multiple profiles (since they'll see that that's allowed from 
view-sourcing other documents) and will run into name conflicts. So, 
infact, I'd require that all profiles introduced through a profile 
element (or similar) have an explicity title that was then required for 
accessing that profile throughout the document. The profile attribute on 
<head> would be discouraged. Then authors looking at a document via 
view-source would see a consisent and logical picture which they could 
easilly copy.

"But if science you say still sounds too deep,
Just do what Beaker does, just shrug and 'Meep!'"

-- Dr. Bunsen Honeydew & Beaker of Muppet Labs

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