[whatwg] several messages about XML syntax and HTML5

Sander Tekelenburg tekelenb at euronet.nl
Mon Dec 4 16:24:12 PST 2006

At 20:46 +0000 UTC, on 2006-12-04, Ian Hickson wrote:

> On Mon, 4 Dec 2006, Sander Tekelenburg wrote:


[ESP engines]

>> Surely you're not saying that HTML5 will define error handling for every
>> possible case a UA may run into?
> Yes. In fact, not only will it define this, it already _does_ define this.
> e.g.:
>    http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/#parsing
> ...covers the parsing of HTML into a DOM, and describes how you handle
> every single error, including error recovery.

OK, that ambition hadn't yet sunken in here.

Still, I don't see how this makes it not guesswork. Looks to me like a
*formalisation* of the guess work; specifying what is the best guess in
situation x. (Mind you, I'm not saying that is't useful, especially since
this guesswork is apparently based on research of real, out there in the
wild, HTM, and is this intelligent guesswork. But I don't see how, in error
situation x, interpreting y as z can ever guarantee that the author did
indeed mean z.)

Or do I misunderstand something?


[browser indicating no guesswork was needed]

>> How is that different from that key in the status bar that they see
>> randomly on some pages?
> Given the extremely bad usability of SSL UI, and the fact that the
> security community is currently having to desperately find new ways to
> make sites secure in a way that users understand, your analogy is actually
> very apt. There are a number of studies that show that SSL UI is
> horrendous; one study I read suggests that over 60% of users don't even
> pay attention to SSL error messages, let alone the lock.

Surely your "not paying attention" is the same as my earlier "ignoring"? How
does the ignorability of the lock icon make it negatively affect usability?
(Maybe from the standpoint of those who insist the user must deal with that
message, but surely not from the standpoint of the user.)

Sure, bugging people with error messages continuously is bad for usability.
But an unobtrusive, ignorable icon that conveys something useful?

Sander Tekelenburg, <http://www.euronet.nl/~tekelenb/>

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