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

Leons Petrazickis leons.petrazickis at gmail.com
Thu Nov 30 07:57:06 PST 2006

On 11/30/06, Sam Ruby <rubys at intertwingly.net> wrote:
> On 11/30/06, Anne van Kesteren <annevk at opera.com> wrote:
> >
> > It has to allow two authoring syntaxes. One HTML and one XML. I thought we
> > were past that discussion?
> The sense I am gathering is that the proposal is not obviously insane, and
> in fact is a bit novel in that such a narrowly scoped adoption of XML syntax
> -- i.e., only to the extent that it both reflects the web as widely
> practiced and only to the extent that doing such does not introduce
> ambiguity into the grammar -- had not been considered before.
> In any case, I plan to proceed on the assumption that it is worth my time to
> flesh out the proposal a bit more.  The next iteration is likely to also
> contain thoughts on extensibility and namespaces.  Like this proposal was,
> my intent is that that proposal too will also take great care to only be
> minimally invasive.

So far, the proposal is to have two syntaxes:

1) HTML5 - Backwards-compatible text/html syntax that allows trailing
slashes on always-empty elements.
2) XHTML5 - Full XML syntax with the proper mime type.

I am not sure where extensibility and namespaces would fit into that.
Perhaps they should be proposed independently of this.

Again, early adopters of CSS, validation, and semantic mark-up were
told a story. That story said that maintainability=>no formatting in
HTML=>CSS=>XHTML=>trailing backslashes on empty elements. That's not
true, but quibbling nets few converts. If we make trailing backslashes
invalid, then every bug report we file will say:
- Remove trailing backslashes. You can't serve XHTML like this.

That will invariably be rejected.

If we keep them valid on always-empty elements, then it'll be much nicer:
- HTML5 is the new hot thing. You shouldn't be serving XHTML as
text/html anyways. Switch doctypes, revalidate, and iteratively
improve markup

It's much easier to gain acceptance, agreement, buy-in, consensus on
the latter. The validation errors they'll see will actually help them
with browser compatibility.

Leons Petrazickis

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