[whatwg] several messages about XML syntax and HTML5

Sander Tekelenburg tekelenb at euronet.nl
Fri Dec 8 06:49:12 PST 2006

At 02:37 +0000 UTC, on 2006-12-08, Ian Hickson wrote:

> On Fri, 8 Dec 2006, Sander Tekelenburg wrote:


>> <http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/#parsing> [...]
>> "The error handling for parse errors is well-defined: user agents must
>> either act as described below when encountering such problems, or must
>> abort processing at the first error that they encounter for which they
>> do not wish to apply the rules described below." [...]
> Well, user agents have the choice to abort processing, that's true. But no
> Web browser would do that, they'd all follow the error recovery rules. The
> allowance for aborting is really only there to allow conformance checkers
> and data mining tools to abort processing (e.g. if they are used in
> environments where there shouldn't be any errors).

OK. Clear. Thanks.

I initially thought that that was meant, but got unsure because the next
paragraph speaks specifically about conformance checkers. That gave me the
impression that the one cited referred specificially to 'browsers'.

So based on that, we can say that every HTML5 browser will deal with errors
in the exact same way. That would be a great help to get the Web more
interoperable. Excellent so far :) But it still leaves the question whether
every browser will in fact be HTML5 compliant. Apparently Apple, Mozilla and
Opera have that ambition. Smaller ones, like iCab and lynx, will just have to
follow. But what about Microsoft? I still have the impression that they can
undermine this entire effort by getting people to use authoring tools that on
purpose contain errors that result in 'good' looking pages in Explorer, and
'bad' in HTML5 browsers. Simply by producing code that they know will result
in 'bad' pages when parsed in accordance with the HTML5 parsing rules.

So my question is: am I wrong that this risk exists? And if the risk exists,
what are the plans to deal with that situation when it happens?

(I name Microsoft because they happen to be in that position today. But the
same risk will exist when some other party will be big enough.)

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

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