[whatwg] Allow trailing slash in always-empty HTML5 elements?

Henri Sivonen hsivonen at iki.fi
Thu Nov 30 07:16:15 PST 2006

On Nov 30, 2006, at 14:15, Sam Ruby wrote:

> Henri Sivonen wrote:
>>> I don't think it has any actual technical merit
>> OTOH, the blog.whatwg.org WordPress lipsticking drill was a total  
>> waste of time from a technical point of view. It was purely about  
>> public relations and politics.
> As an alternative to being perceived as a "lipsticking drill", I  
> would prefer that others felt that an important part of the spec  
> authoring process includes what amounts to a feasibility study and  
> hands on experimentation with extant authoring tools.

That's my personal perception considering what I knew before, what I  
know after and what the opportunity cost to me personally was. The  
problem that was fixed was not causing any technical interop harm,  
which I knew before, and I also had a pretty good hunch in advance  
that "fixing" it in WP would amount to lipstick or duct tape.

I do think that the discussion that ensued has been good for the spec.

(Still, I am against efforts to make it appear that the text/html and  
application/xhtml+xml syntaxes are one thing.)

> I apologize if I've caused any ill will.

No ill will on my part. I apologize if it appeared to be the case.

I am just disappointed with myself that I didn't stick to my policy  
of steering clear of situations where I risk ending up patching  
someone else's PHP code. (Because I've patched PHP code before and I  
know it makes me unhappy.)

> I do believe that efforts to keep blog.whatwg.org and other sites  
> to be valid relative to the current draft of HTML5 are important in  
> order to keep perspective

I agree that dogfooding is important. Dogfooding Web Forms 2.0 at  
http://hsivonen.iki.fi/validator/ has lead to one spec improvement.  
But I don't volunteer to dogfood HTML5 on WordPress.

> and to provide an example for others to learn from.

I am a bit wary of setting examples at this point before the spec has  
stabilized more. For example, not discussing the HTML5 doctype *yet*  
at http://hsivonen.iki.fi/doctype/ is intentional. (Not discussing  
Opera 9 and IE7 is just a scheduling problem. I intend to include  
them RSN.)

> Finally, I will express a bit of disappointment at seeing the  
> WordPress folks prematurely being labeled bozos,

Even though I have a document in which I quote Tim Bray's coinage of  
the term in the XML context, I have tried to avoid labeling anyone in  
particular a bozo.

Without labels, I do think that regardless of how the HTML5 spec  
turns out, WordPress has an architectural flaw in its methodology of  
producing markup. Since the flaw is in the architecture, I am not  
optimistic of it getting fixed in WordPress because it would require  
a rewrite. I'm hoping that at some point, a better system enters the  
market. Meanwhile, asking the WP developers to rewrite theirs seems  

> and am disappointed to see portions of this discussion framed in  
> terms that border on the discussions of epic battles with Zeldman.

I was acknowledging that I agreed that the /> habit has been largely  
popularized by Zeldman et al. and that it is more of a fashion  
statement than a technical necessity. If there were some repressed  
ill feelings there, it is probably because at times it annoys me that  
although Zeldman et al. have been very successful in instilling  
mantras in the minds of Web authors, they haven't been able to  
instill profound understanding of the related issues, and sometimes  
the axiomatic mantras get in the way. (http://hsivonen.iki.fi/ 
wannabe/ grew out of an encounter with a person repeating one of the  
mantras at me.)

Henri Sivonen
hsivonen at iki.fi

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