[whatwg] Fakepath revisited

Smylers Smylers at stripey.com
Thu Sep 3 00:29:32 PDT 2009

Alex Henrie writes:

> A better solution exists: drop the fakepath requirement. Browsers that
> desire extra compatibility can add fakepath to their compatibility
> modes as they choose.

Browsers have 'extra' compatibility is one of the things which currently
causes the _most_ grief for many web developers: writing something to
the spec is nowhere near sufficient to have confidence of it working as
intended in all browsers.

If one major browser implements non-standard behaviour for compatibility
with existing content, it would have an advantage with users over other
browsers -- those other browsers would likely want to implement it, to
avoid losing market share.  But browsers unilaterally implementing
'extra compatibility' means other browsers wanting to be similarly
compatibile have to reverse engineer the first browser -- a
time-consuming and brittle process, which in practice often leads to
some edge cases where the behaviour is not the same.

Also, it makes it hard for a new browser developer to enter the market,
since being compatibile with real-world content involves implementing
this undocumened behaviour.

> Like other compatibility mode behavior, implementation would be
> voluntary and not governed by the W3C.

What "other compatibility mode behavior"? 

> The bottom line is that no web developer wants to have a confusing,
> unintuitive, and very permanent standard.

There is much evidence to suggest that web developers are not happy
either with the previous situation of lots of browsers picking their
behaviour independently, leading to differences between browsers.

> Don't punish all web developers for the poor past designs of the few.

Unfortunately that's pretty much the modus operandi of HTML 5:
standardizing previous stupidities so that we can all share in them.

(We've already tried the alternative, and it's worse.)


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