[whatwg] Using the HTML5 DOCTYPE as a new quirksmode switch

Mihai Sucan mihai.sucan at gmail.com
Sat Mar 10 08:38:32 PST 2007

Le Sat, 10 Mar 2007 12:39:46 +0200, Jorgen Horstink  
<mail at jorgenhorstink.nl> a écrit:

> On Mar 10, 2007, at 11:16 AM, Mihai Sucan wrote:
>> Adding a new DOCTYPE switch is not a solution to Microsoft's problem.
> As far as I understand it, the new DOCTYPE switch is meant to 'tell' to  
> browser the document follows the HTML5 specification. HTML5 is set up to  
> be backwards compatible with HTML4 documents. The opposite does not  
> hold. There must be at least one new DOCTYPE to 'tell' the browser HTML5  
> is being served.
> <!DOCTYPE html> seems to be a suitable candidate. This doctype can be  
> used by vendors to proxy the content to the right rendering engine.  
> Vendors can either rebuild a new engine from scratch, or improve  
> specific parts of their rendering engine.

I believe this is wrong.

This DOCTYPE is *not* meant to 'tell'/inform/advertise the document as  
HTML5. It's definitely not the case, see the FAQ [1].

For one, HTML5 is a specification defining new features, and redefining  
parsing, breaking the SGML and XML rules. All the error recovery, and all  
the parsing rules are picked so that an implementation of HTML 5 will  
properly support HTML 4 as used today on the majority of web sites.  
Backwards compatibility is the key. Of course, it's utopic to believe that  
a specification can be written to accomodate 100% of all the web pages  
found. Yet, HTML 5 does provide parsing algorithms that work on the  
majority of code found on the web.

There's no way to advertise the document as HTML 5, and it's certainly not  
the purpose of the specification to do so.

(If I am wrong, an expert should correct me.)

[1] http://blog.whatwg.org/faq/#doctype

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