[whatwg] HTML differences from HTML4 document updated

Jukka K. Korpela jkorpela at cs.tut.fi
Mon May 6 07:50:03 PDT 2013

2013-05-06 15:12, Simon Pieters wrote:

>> I think you should start from making the title sensible. "HTML
>> differences from HTML4" is too esoteric even in this context.
> Do you have a suggestion?

I made some suggestions, which you comment later, but I will make 
another one here.

>> Besides, the spelling is "HTML 4". Especially if you think HTML 4 is
>> ancient history, retain the historical spelling.
> I don't think this is of particular importance.

If it isn't, why not use the correct spelling? When referring to 
specifications, it is usually a good idea to use their own spelling, 
even when it is odd and confusing.

> HTML 4.01 is intended. The differences between revisions of HTML4 is out
> of scope.

Then the heading should say "HTML 4.01".

>> "HTML" has been used through the ages to denote a markup language (and
>> associated definitions) in a broad sense, as opposite to specific
>> versions. This is still the everyday meaning. And a title of a work
>> should be understandable without reading some explanation inside it,
>> saying that some common term has an uncommon meaning.
>> If you can't agree on a proper name, at least call it something like
>> "modern HTML". Or, perhaps more realistically, "near-future HTML".
> "Modern HTML differences from HTML4"? I'm not convinced that's a win.
> "Near-future" seems wrong since it's more like "current".

The difficulty here directly reflects the vague nature of HTML5: it 
partly tries to describe HTML as actually implemented and partly 
specifies features that should (or "shall") be implemented. Hence it is 
both modern and (intended to be) near-future.

But the fundamental difficulty is that you are trying to describe a 
specific version, or set of versions, of HTML without giving it a proper 
name or version number.

Since WHATWG does not use a proper name for its version (the title is 
just "HTML"), I think the only way to refer to it properly is to prefix 
it with "WHATWG". This would lead to the title

"Differences of HTML5 and WHATWG HTML from HTML 4.01"

>> It's not clear to me why the document is needed in the first place. It
>> would seem to be much more relevant to document in detail the
>> differences between HTML 5, HTML 5.1, and WHATWG Living HTML than to
>> write a rather general document about the differences between them (as
>> if they were a single and stabile specification) and HTML 4.
> Such a document would be useful, but it's not this document. The primary
> focus for this document is what is different from HTML4.

But why? What is the purpose of this document? This is relevant to 
naming it, and to the content too, of course. Now it is neither a 
reliable comparison with links the relevant clauses nor an overview - it 
has too many details, to begin with. Is this for authors who consider 
moving from HTML 4.01 to HTML 5? Then I think it should primarily 
specify what HTML 4.01 features are forbidden in HTML 5, then the 


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