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

Matthew Ratzloff matt at builtfromsource.com
Sun Mar 11 17:01:38 PDT 2007

On Sun, March 11, 2007 3:20 pm, Anne van Kesteren wrote:
> There needs to be versioning? The web has done great so far without it...
> I'm not sure I really see the need.

The Web has done great so far without it?  When "strict" mode was
introduced, all existing websites didn't suddenly start rendering under
it.  It was opt-in.  Versioning is just a formalized way of opting into a
certain rendering method.

It would be great if rendering always stayed the same, browser makers
always got it right the first time, and things were only added to the
specification.  But as I mentioned previously, without versioning of some
sort, rendering either becomes a moving target or browser makers become
slaves to backwards compatibility.  Or, more likely, some combination of

By introducing a version attribute, browser makers can have a rendering
engine for HTML 4.01, one for HTML 5, one for HTML 6, and so on (or
really, one rendering engine with differences extended off of it).  This
way, users are required to transition to newer forms of HTML if they want
access to new tags, which also means no longer using deprecated tags (with
something like a one-version transitional period).  If you want access to
<superdupertag>, you have to give up <blink> at some point.  And no one is
ever required to update their old sites to get them to render correctly.

This seems especially important with deprecation or with tags that change
usage between versions.

Of course, this requires lots of communication between browser makers and
standards bodies.


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