<span class="gmail_quote">On 11/29/06, <b class="gmail_sendername">Ian Hickson</b> <<a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>> wrote:</span><br><div><blockquote class="gmail_quote" style="border-left: 1px solid rgb(204, 204, 204); margin: 0pt 0pt 0pt 0.8ex; padding-left: 1ex;">
I think basically the argument is "it would help people" and the counter<br>argument is "it would confuse people". We need evidence to back up these<br>arguments so we can make a solid decision. The only relevant data I have
<br>is that 50% of the web uses trailing slashes, and only 17% uses XHTML.<br>This could be used to back up either argument: "clearly people think that<br>trailing slashes are allowed, so we should allow them", and "clearly
<br>people are confused about trailing slashes, so we should get rid of them<br>altogether". I don't know which is best.</blockquote><div><br>More data would certainly be better, particularly as this data apparently doesn't distinguish between "singleton slashes" and "non-singleton slashes", and I have my intuitions on that matter, but limiting myself to only the data we have:
<br><br>I think that it is fair to assume that the majority of the people who (rightfully or incorrectly) assume that they are using XHTML use trailing slashes. Besides, this is the most conservative assumption for the next point:
<br><br>It is fair to conclude that that 33% (i.e., 50-17) of those that (in this case incorrectly) assume that they are producing HTML use trailing slashes. In Ian's terminology, these people are confused.<br><br>The first question I think we can answer fairly conclusively: of those 33%, how many will become "un-confused" if HTML5 does not permit trailing slashes? Hint: the version of HTML they are currently using already doesn't permit trailing slashes.
<br><br>The remaining question is how many of the 67% of the 83% (i.e., 55%) of people who use HTML and don't using trailing slashes would suddenly become confused (assuming that they aren't already, but just happen to be lucky or use good tool) if HTML5 were to now given an option that provides them little, if any value. This question I don't believe is answerable only by scanning the documents that they produce. But I will say that few people produce documents in a vacuum, and given that 50% of the documents on the web contain trailing slashes, I dare say that most if not all of them have already been exposed to such documents.
<br><br>And like most questions, the mere existence of HTML5 is likely to influence the answer to the question.<br><br>More specifically, imagine two paths:<br><br>Path 1: HTML5 permits two authoring syntaxes, and the question as to whether or not trailing slashes are allowed is forever "it depends". I continue to maintain that most people don't understand DOCTYPEs, and will point to the 50% number above as being consistent with that contention.
<br><br>Path 2: HTML5 permits only one authoring syntax, and permits "XML-style" notation only to the extent that such syntax wouldn't be interpreted in a different manner by consumers that only understand HTML. The documentation for HTML5 would contain examples of such cases, and any conformance checker would only point out such examples.
<br><br>Note: the two paths above are mere thumbnail sketches. The devil's in the detail. For example, technically ' would fall on the wrong side the argument, but as I can see from the current draft of HTML5, the right decision was already made in that case.
<br></div></div><br>- Sam Ruby<br>