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

Andrew Fedoniouk news at terrainformatica.com
Sat Mar 10 23:03:51 PST 2007

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Robert Brodrecht 
To: Andrew Fedoniouk 
Cc: whatwg at whatwg.org 
Sent: Saturday, March 10, 2007 8:36 PM
Subject: Re: [whatwg] Using the HTML5 DOCTYPE as a new quirksmode switch

>On Mar 10, 2007, at 5:24 PM, Andrew Fedoniouk wrote:

>>And yet: web server configuration of headers is not always available.
>>Public virtual site hosts is a good example.

>>And more:
>>Server adminestering and content creation are different roles/activities.
>>As a rule different people handle these tasks. Requiring both of them
>>to be involved in proces of creation of valid content will decrease
>>probability that result will be valid.

>People seem to have looked over the part where I suggested it could 
>be either a header or *an http-equiv meta tag.*  The meta tag cuts 
>out the backend developer / server admin.  Furthermore, if you have 
>a need and your host or backend developer is not willing to honor that 
>request, you are hiring the wrong people and you should find someone 
>else who will do what you need.  

I love advices of hiring other people when they are accompanied by
money orders.  :) 

>This isn't a major undertaking to add this header.  There shouldn't be 
>an instance where a professional web designer can't come up with a 
>way to add a header to a request (either via global config, an .htaccess, 
>or via a server-side scripting command).  If I am wrong about that 
>statement, REAL XHTML was doomed to fail from the day it
>required a content-type other than text/html.

I think your point of view is valid somehow but a bit idealistic.
Is valid because it is better for UA to know up front what it 
needs to parse : HTML, XHTML, SVG, etc.  

It is idealistic because, say, if you will put following in 
your .htaccess: 

AddType foo/bar .html 

it will do nothing on your site (you can try).
This setting is managed by httpd.conf of the whole
Apache server (if I recall this correctly).
(and ForceType may not work at all on 
servers of your type)

Trust me there are many practical needs where
self descriptive document is highly desirable.

Think about this: 
All UAs will correctly present file
some.png even it contains jpeg bits. 
Even if server reports image/x-png content-type 
for it. 

It is very old tradition in software design - 
all file formats contain identification of the
content type in some form - usually first 256 bytes
is enough to determine type. So why html should be an 
exception of this rule?

Andrew Fedoniouk.

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