Prescriptive vs 'Obsolete'

Stan Newton (
Tue, 13 Sep 94 08:32:41 EDT

Dear Dan,

Your reply to my inquiry about the meaning of Prescriptive got me to
thinking. Since I am working on authoring tools, I am very concerned about
'the spec I should author to - that is - comply with when authoring'. The
working group obviously has great concerns about validating the HTML that is
already out there which produces quite a conflict.

As part of the authoring package, I had planned to replace 'Obsolete'
elements with their successor Elements and to enforce the 2.0 rules on newly
created documents. To me, this means that there is still a place for
Prescriptive tag definitions in the broader sense of "this is the way I
think it ought to be coded". If I don't author to the higher ground when
adding to the existing document base, how does the standard advance?

All this leads to my position that:

1. I like Prescriptive because it sets a higher standard for new documents.
(and for upgraded documents), providing a way to differentiate
between existing and preferred tagging.
2. I like Obsolete categories for tags because
a. I know these tags exist so I can be prepared to handle them.
b. I won't generate new or upgraded documents containing these tags.

I hope this doesn't re-open issues that have been resolved. It seems to me
to provide a way to encapsulate the present while pointing toward the future.
Stan Newton
Newton Computing Solutions