[whatwg] Tim BL's HTML WG announcement and WHAT WG

Henri Sivonen hsivonen at iki.fi
Mon Oct 30 00:39:51 PST 2006

On Oct 30, 2006, at 01:32, Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells wrote:

> Henri Sivonen wrote:
>> Does the W3C now accept that HTML is not in practice an   
>> application of SGML?
> Why do you believe this to be important, Henri ?

HTML was not an application of SGML to begin with. It was inspired by  
SGML and in the beginning HTML parsers were not expected to be full  
SGML systems. (For evidence, see http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/draft-ietf- 
iiir-html-01.txt .)

For the last decade, HTML specs have claimed that HTML is an  
application of SGML, but this has failed to have an impact on the  
reality of browsers, which should indicate that insisting on SGML has  
utterly failed. The spec pretending that HTML is an application of  
SGML is not a good idea, because
  1) HTML specs should document what needs to be implemented in order  
to interoperate with other HTML UAs. Saying something significantly  
different from what implementors need to know is not helpful.
  2) The complexity of SGML is not needed. Pretending that HTML is an  
application of SGML server no practical purpose.
  3) It is not useful that quality assurance tools pretend that it is  
SGML when this distances quality assurance tools from practical needs.
  4) Limitations of DTDs shouldn't cause a denial of interoperably  
implemented features. For example, it is useless to pretend that  
<embed> doesn't exist just because it doesn't fit together with DTDs.

>> Does the W3C now subscribe to the view that the  engines that  
>> matter the most are Gecko, Presto, Trident and WebKit  and if they  
>> interoperate, their common behavior is what gets specified?
> Is Internet Explorer based on any of these engines ?

Yes: Trident.

Henri Sivonen
hsivonen at iki.fi

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