[whatwg] The problems with namespaces in text/html (Was: MathML-in-HTML5)

Elliotte Harold elharo at metalab.unc.edu
Sun Nov 5 06:29:29 PST 2006

Lachlan Hunt wrote:

>> Why not ditch the HTML 5 layer completely and simply allow the XML 
>> tools direct access?
> Because we have to remain compatible with the web, where there are an 
> infinite number of existing documents that browsers must be able to 
> handle interoperably.

You're getting this backwards. There's no reason for HTML 5 to be 
compatible with existing *documents*, existing browsers and tools sure; 
but other documents can be handled on their own.

>> Who, exactly is this HTML serialization supposed to help?
> Anyone for whom interoperability in processing real world content is 
> important.  This includes, among others:
> * Browser vendors that have to deal with real world content.

Browser vendors can handle XHTML now. It's a non-issue for them.

> * CMS, editor, and other tool vendors that have to accept HTML input 
> from users.

They mostly don't use HTML now. Instead they use things like markdown. 
If they do accept HTML, they tidy it up in various ways for security 
reasons, if not for well-formedness. Adding well-formedness checking to 
those that don't is quite simple. It's a question of will and desire, 
not ability.

> * Authors that have to develop for the real world.

I have no idea what you mean by this.  I suspect it's redundant.

> * Users who like to surf the web in any browser they choose.

As long as any browser they choose is some browser released in this 
millennium, XHTML is fine.

I'm sorry. The use cases so far just don't hold water. I reput the 
question: who does HTML serialization help? What problems does this solve?

Elliotte Rusty Harold  elharo at metalab.unc.edu
Java I/O 2nd Edition Just Published!

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