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Re: Replace HTML4 doctype declaration

From: Jacob Bachmeyer
Subject: Re: Replace HTML4 doctype declaration
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2021 19:41:05 -0600
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US; rv: Gecko/20090807 MultiZilla/ SeaMonkey/1.1.17 Mnenhy/

Gavin Smith wrote:
It's questionable how useful it is to have a version number in a file
format if reading software is not going to use it (apparently just
"<!DOCTYPE html>" is needed to turn off "quirks mode" but browsers
pay no attention to the DTD beyond that).  I doubt that a doctype
declaration would help with long-term compatibility of browsers with
documentation files.  Even if you like version numbers in file formats
that is not what is done with HTML and one project (Texinfo) won't change

Current reading software may not use it, but my concern is for the future. I have very little confidence in WHATWG, since they obviously do not understand such a basic concept as declaring format versions, a concept that all previous revisions of HTML used, so they could have simply carried it forwards.

It seems slightly absurd to output this long doctype declaration
that was mandated by old standards that has no effect on browsers,
while ignoring newer standards that don't mandate the DTD.  It is like
saying we believe that the HTML standards authorities made a mistake
in changing it and we trust the decisions of standards authorities
from the past but not from the present.

HTML5 came from a different group than the one that produced HTML4. You have nicely summed up my position: I trust the group that developed HTML4, but I consider the group that developed HTML5 a bunch of fools.

Perhaps it is worth noting that HTML4 was supposed to be the last version of SGML-based HTML, with the forward migration path being to XHTML. W3C did not develop HTML5. WHATWG (if I remember correctly) usurped the "HTML" name and produced HTML5, while W3C was recommending a migration path to XHTML.

Even still, we cannot entirely trust W3C anymore, or do you think that Encrypted Media Extensions (a Digital Restrictions Management quasi-standard) is a good idea?

Finally, using the HTML4 doctypes makes Texinfo look outdated.

That is completely irrelevant. An old system that works well is still a system that works well. There is no reason to change it just because it is long-standing.

-- Jacob

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