[whatwg] WA1: Conformance requirements

L. David Baron dbaron at dbaron.org
Mon Mar 6 05:17:14 PST 2006

Some comments on section 1.8, "Conformance requirements" in the
2006-02-16 draft of Web Applications 1.0 (whose permanent URL claims to
be http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/ ).

The opening sentence:
  As well as sections marked as non-normative, all diagrams, examples,
  and notes in this specification are non-normative.
is unnecessarily complicated.  Instead, I would suggest combining it and
the following sentence:
  All of this specification is normative, except for sections marked as
  non-normative, diagrams, examples, and notes.

It says:
  This specification describes the conformance criteria for user agents
  (implementations and their implementors) and ...
But I don't think a person who implements a conformant implementation of
the specification is himself conformant to the specification.  I'd take
out "and their implementors".  (Likewise for authors of documents.)

I'm also not entirely sure that "user agent" is an appropriate term for
all of the implementations described here.  I think it refers to an
implementation that a user uses to access the Web, i.e., a browser.  But
the use of that term may be too ingrained in the spec to remove it.

It says:
  Conformance requirements phrased as requirements on elements,
  attributes, methods or objects are conformance requirements on user
They are?  It seems like they're much more likely to be conformance
requirements on documents.  I'm having trouble finding a single example
that I think is a requirement for a user agent.

The "User agents with no scripting support" should probably either (1)
not be a toplevel item within the dl or (2) import the requirements of
one of the previous items in the definition list, as the item before it
does.  Otherwise there appear to be no conformance requirements for such
user agents.  (I tend to think that perhaps both the non-interactive and
no-scripting rules should be exceptions within the "Web browsers"
section, though.)

The requirement that authoring tools must generate conforming documents
should probably also make the distinction between the three types of
conformance requirements made in the section on conformance tools.  I
would say that authoring tools must generate documents that conform to
the first two requirements and should encourage their users to generate
documents that conform to the third.  I'd also allow an exception for
preservation of nonconformant content across editing operations, since
in editors often should not change content unrelated to what is being

One comment on the following section (1.9 Terminology) while I'm here:
use of "svg:rect" as an example should probably be change to an example
that's actually defined by the table following it.


L. David Baron                                <URL: http://dbaron.org/ >
           Technical Lead, Layout & CSS, Mozilla Corporation
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