[whatwg] HTML 5 : Misconceptions Documented

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Sun Jan 18 00:49:50 PST 2009

On Sat, 17 Jan 2009, Mike Wilson wrote:
> I'm impressed with the level of detail that you strive for in 
> documenting real-world HTML :-)

It more or less is forced upon us if we want the spec to fulfill the role 
of a document that accurately depicts how to write a user agent (be it a 
browser, command-line tool, or whatever) that actually works with today's 
content. But thanks. :-)

> Still, seeing this quite non-trivial "feature-bug" being standardized, I 
> see the potential for making the standard unnecessary complicated if 
> including a lot of these legacy quirks. So I wonder what is your process 
> for determining if a "quirk" should be included in HTML5 or not?

It basically boils down to "did Web browser vendors find that if they 
didn't implement it, enough people complained to justify spending the 
resources to implement it after all?".

> Is there any listing of other quirks together with a yes/no decision 
> whether to include them in HTML5?

I'm not aware of anybody keeping track of this closely, no.

> Also, what is the general ambition for compatibility with legacy 
> content? Until reading this thread I personally thought HTML5's legacy 
> compatibility revolved mainly around rendering and document validity, 
> but now I realize it has a lot to do with script compatibility as well?

Scripting (or rather, the HTML DOM API) is a big part of HTML, so insofar 
as HTML5 (the spec) defines those APIs, we have to consider the impact of 
legacy pages on the implementations of those APIs.

The same should apply to all specs, really, though so far not all Web 
specs have received this treatment. (Of note are XMLHttpRequest and 
WebIDL, and to a lesser extent CSS2.1.)

> And please do not take this message as criticism, these are just 
> interesting (to me) questions that I couldn't find the answer to on the 
> whatwg FAQ.

Feel free to add questions to the FAQ, even without answers; someone will 
fill them in! :-)

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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