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

James Graham jg307 at cam.ac.uk
Wed Mar 14 10:38:04 PDT 2007

Asbjørn Ulsberg wrote:
> On Tue, 13 Mar 2007 22:33:54 +0100, Simon Pieters <zcorpan at gmail.com> 
> wrote:
>>> The only way to not break 50% of the web is to invent a new mode that 
>>> gives the IE developers a blank sheet they can begin to draw on.
>> FWIW, I think the 50% figure is incorrect. According to [1], 90% of 
>> the web use quirks mode.
> Although it's great to get the right numbers on the table, it isn't 
> really relevant for this discussion. If the IE team feels an obligation 
> to maintain backwards compatibility with CSS1Compat and thus has a need 
> to introduce another rendering switch, then that's what matters. The 
> discussion is then how this should be enabled, and my proposal is with 
> <!DOCTYPE html>.

Sorry I must be missing something here. As far as I can tell, there is no 
specification related issue here. If the IE team want to introduce a new 
rendering mode they could indeed switch on the doctype. However there is nothing 
we can do to make this happen so there seems little point in discussing it.

I suppose one could argue over whether HTML5 should include the possibility of 
language version information in the document. However, exisiting implementators 
have reported that trying to switch rendering based on such information is 
highly undesirable because of the additional difficulty of development and 
testing. Therefore the spec instead takes the point of view that all future 
development of the HTML language must be backward compatible so that such 
switches are not needed.

"Eternity's a terrible thought. I mean, where's it all going to end?"
  -- Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

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