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

Henri Sivonen hsivonen at iki.fi
Sun Nov 5 11:47:39 PST 2006

On Nov 5, 2006, at 16:29, Elliotte Harold wrote:

> 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.

The HTML5 parsing algorithm is not about adding a third parser  
alongside old HTML and XML. It is about defining a parsing algorithm  
for text/html content in general--including content that purports to  
conform to older HTML specs.

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

Having worked recently on improving XHTML handling in Gecko, I assure  
you that XHTML is not a non-issue from the browser point of view.

>> * 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.

You are underestimating the bozo factor on ability and the effect of  
legacy code even when there is desire.

Henri Sivonen
hsivonen at iki.fi

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