Re: HTML 2.0 reconstruction done

Joe English (
Fri, 31 Mar 95 12:30:38 EST

Roy T. Fielding <fielding@avron.ICS.UCI.EDU> wrote:
> > The old language was:
> > [...]
> > If the HTML specification and SGML standard conflict,
> > the SGML standard is definitive.
> >
> > and that is the only approach I can support. HTML is defined as
> > an application of SGML; we cannot ignore the SGML standard when we
> > choose. It's that second para, saying that the SGML standard is
> > definitive, that is still needed. The wording about how some HTML
> > apps can't ignore HTML is kinda odd considering almost all of them do.
> On the contrary -- we can and do ignore the SGML standard with a great
> deal of regularity and for many good reasons. That is life! No user agent
> is required to be an SGML application, and those applications are quite
> capable of ignoring the SGML standard (sometimes in an unfortunate way).

Where is the SGML standard ignored? I can only think
of these cases:

* Many browsers do not implement certain features
(marked sections, <!entity declarations, NETs),
or parse legal documents the wrong way (error-recovery
heuristics that make <IMG ALT="A > B"> parse wrong).
I don't think the standard is being ignored here --
the spec doesn't say that browsers *should* ignore
these constructs; it says that documents should not use
them because many browsers are known to get it wrong.

* Many existing documents do not conform to the DTD,
so browsers must be prepared to deal with that.
Again, this does not contradict the standard in any way --
the standard only describes what a legal SGML document
looks like; it says nothing about what implementations
should do with non-conformant documents.

Except for the section in question, I can't think of
any place in the HTML spec where implementors are
*encouraged* to implement something which contradicts
ISO 8879.

--Joe English