[whatwg] Allow trailing slash in always-empty HTML5 elements?

Mike Schinkel mikeschinkel at gmail.com
Sun Dec 3 01:00:03 PST 2006

Thanks for the detailed reply. 

>> Lachlan Hunt wrote:
>> > 4.) Currently offering a CMS/web app generates HTML(4) 
>> > using string concatonation, with plans to move it to XHTML
>> > 5.) Currently offering a CMS/web app generates HTML(4) and 
>> > XHTML both using string concatonation
>> As Henri has outlined in his article on producing XML, using string 
>> concatenation and print statements to produce XML is a mistake. 
>> WordPress and MediaWiki fall into this category and it has proven 
>> to be a fatal architectural flaw in their design.  CMSs built like that 
>> would find it easier to migrate to HTML5.

Just because you tell people they should do it a certain way doesn't mean
they will. I had hestitated to use this analogy but here goes: Telling
Africans (or teenagers for that matter) they shouldn't have sex outside of a
marital relationship (before marriage or otherwise) isn't going to stop a
lot of them from doing it and hence isn't going to stop the spread of AIDs
in Africa (and elsewhere.)  Prohibition just doesn't work; better to be
pragmatic rather than adhere to an ideology in the face of evidence to the

I guess what I'm seeing is that the position you and some others on this
list are taking will, I believe, create significant interoperability
problems on the Internet. My understanding is that it is in the charter of
the W3C and by extension the WHATWG to guard against such interoperability
problems at all costs.  Being idealistic is great, but not when it could
create huge problems on the Internet that could otherwise have been avoided.
It's much better to be pragmatic and focus on optimizing for what *will*
happen rather then target what you *want* to happen (look at IRAQ, it didn't
work for Bush either. ;-)

>> e.g. In XHTML:
>> <p>A paragraph containing
>>    <ul>
>>      <li>a list</li>
>>      <li>of items</li>
>>    </ul>
>> </p>
>> Cannot be accurately represented in the HTML serialisation, as it 
>> would result in the following:
>> <p>A paragraph containing
>>    </p><ul>
>>      <li>a list</li>
>>      <li>of items</li>
>>    </ul>

Why not solve that problem by converting 

<!-- In XHTML -->
<p>A paragraph containing
      <li>a list</li>
      <li>of items</li>
To something like this:
 <div class="__xhtml_paragraph">
    A paragraph containing
      <li>a list</li>
      <li>of items</li>

Which can easily be round-tripped.  My solution is ugly, but then it is
solving an even uglier problem. "__xhtml_paragraph" it is unique enough that
it shouldn't clash with anything else.

>> If wanting to author in HTML and reserialise as XHTML, 
>> there is also an issue with using the <noscript> element, 
>> as it is forbidden in XHTML5.

XHTML5? Do you mean XHTML?   Anyway, can't you encode it using comments if
serialized to XHTML for round-tripping?  Certainly it can't have any
hehavior in XHTML, but then when there are technical constraints (as opposed
to constraints on principle) limitations are acceptable because they can't
be helped.

-Mike Schinkel

P.S. Any chance of splitting
http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/ into multiple files?  It
overwhelms IE7 so much as to be practically unusable (Yes I have FireFox,
but it's not my default browser.)

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