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

Matthew Ratzloff matt at builtfromsource.com
Mon Mar 12 11:32:14 PDT 2007

On Mon, March 12, 2007 10:39 am, Ian Hickson wrote:
>> It's tempting to think that browser makers will get it right the first
>> time, but I'm not sure I believe it.  <!DOCTYPE HTML> might introduce
>> headaches when Microsoft or Mozilla or somebody realize they've had a
>> bug in their rendering engine for a couple of years that people depend
>> on now. Does that DOCTYPE now become <!DOCTYPE HTML STRICT>?
> No, we just fix the spec.

I don't understand.  The bug becomes part of HTML 6?

> You still end up with dozens of codepaths to test. Testing one browser is
> a near-infinite amount of work, increasing the complexity is not workable.

The idea was that common functionality would be moved back into the core,
so that dozens of code paths wouldn't have to be tested.  Requiring bug
reports to contain either a URL or the version the bug occurs under would
narrow bug hunting greatly.  And it's not like it'd affect the entire code
set--JPEGs, for instance, aren't subject to version differences.

>> In effect, I'm suggesting a structure like this:
>> --Base rendering engine
>>   |
>>   +- HTML 4 quirks mode
>>   +- HTML 5 (renders HTML 4 strict as well)
> I think you have a simplistic view of how browsers work. I recommend
> looking at the source of Mozilla or Webkit.

I have no doubt that you are more familiar with the innards.  I was
speaking broadly, though, and I have looked at both before (I've even
contributed a bit of code to Firefox--woohoo, right? :-D).  However, on
your suggestion I took another look.  The primary barrier to something
like this seems to be the somewhat random way the code is organized, not
any sort of intrinsic difference in browsers from the rest of the software

In any event, this is basically off-topic at this point, so no reply is
necessary.  Thanks for the banter.  :-)


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