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

Matthew Ratzloff matt at builtfromsource.com
Sat Mar 10 21:40:18 PST 2007

I don't care about DTD, but DOCTYPE is established, so it seems strange to
trash it in favor of something new when the benefit is questionable (as
far as I can tell).  It is also evident to me that there needs to be some
kind of versioning--consistent rendering shouldn't be a moving target.

If DTD is out, bring back the deprecated "version" attribute that it
replaced.  Assuming there is only one version of HTML 5.0, the following
would work:

<html version="5.0" mode="strict" encoding="UTF-8" lang="en-US">

All attributes optional, obviously.


> Browsers render in quirksmode by default.  That's been established.
> At this point WHATWG has already rejected DTDs in DOCTYPE and seems
> pretty set on not including it.  I myself would rather have some type
> of versioning (DTD or otherwise) in the DOCTYPE.  All I've heard from
> WHATWG is that they don't really even like the DOCTYPE.  If browsers
> didn't use DOCTYPE as the standards mode switch, DOCTYPE probably
> wouldn't even be in WHATWG's HTML 5.
> If there is no versioning system, there is no way to specify an
> "alternate standard."
> I'm sure most people have heard the saying "Choose your battles."
> Fighting for DTDs or some other type of versioning in the DOCTYPE in
> WHATWG's spec is not a fight that can be won as far as I can tell.
> Having some method to tell people what spec an author is using can be
> won.

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