[whatwg] several messages about HTML5

Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at myrealbox.com
Tue Feb 20 16:03:44 PST 2007

On Feb 21, 2007, at 10:00 AM, Vlad Alexander (xhtml.com) wrote:
> 4. One of the biggest problems with HTML is that content authors can 
> get away with writing "tag soup". As a result, most content authors 
> don't feel the need to write markup to specification. When markup is 
> not written to specification, CSS may not get applied correctly, 
> JavaScript may not execute and some user-agents may not be able to 
> process content as the author intended. Why not put an end to "tag 
> soup" by requiring user-agents to only accept markup written to 
> specification?
> ...

Because UA vendors compete, in part, on what proportion of Web pages 
work in their UA. Therefore, in the absence of greater opposing forces, 
competition will force them to ignore any requirement that they refuse 
to render a particular page.

> ...
> 6. The font element is a terrible construct, primarily because content 
> creators using authoring tools use the font element instead of 
> semantic markup. The X/HTML 5 spec supports the font element when 
> content is authored using WYSIWYG editors. What is the rationale for 
> this? Why would WYSIWYG editors get an exemption?

Because most people, including the vast majority of those using Wysiwyg 
editors, will never bother producing accurate semantic markup, and 
trying to force them to do so will cause them to misuse it.

> And is this exemption going to make the Web less accessible?

Hopefully more accessible, because in those cases where semantic markup 
is used, UAs will be able to start relying on it being accurate.

> ...
> 8. The chair of the HTML Working Group at W3C, Steven Pemberton, said 
> "HTML is a mess!" and "rather than being designed, HTML just grew, by 
> different people just adding stuff to it". Since HTML is poorly 
> designed, why is it worth preserving?

For the same reasons English is worth preserving.

> ...
> 9. Supporters of X/HTML 5 call XHTML 2 radical. History has shown us 
> that radical technological change is often controversial, but in the 
> end is the best choice. For example, in the last 40 years, the 
> technology for delivering music has change radically, from vinyl, to 
> cassette, to CD, to purely digital. Why should the Web shy away from a 
> radical technological change?
> ...

For the same reasons people shy away from learning Esperanto. Vinyl, 
cassettes, and CDs are not languages.

Matthew Paul Thomas

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