XHTML 1.0 returned to HTML WG

Paul Prescod paul at prescod.net
Mon Nov 8 15:08:05 GMT 1999

David Megginson wrote:
> Paul Prescod <paul at prescod.net> writes:
> > "SGML may now be used on the Web. DOCTYPE
> > declarations are now optional. Otherwise, use your common sense."
> Well, I would have made it a couple paragraphs longer, but in essence,
> that might have served, except for two problems:

My main question isn't about whether XML should be standalone or a
derivative of SGML. My question is: "Why do you agree with formal
standards sometimes and then other times say that we should just depend
on 'common sense'?" My personal opinion is that anywhere
interoperability is truly required, it should be formally specified. I
mean the main argument against the infoset (and groves before the
infoset, and ESIS before groves) was: "Well that's all common sense,
isn't it?"

Put it this way: if something technical truly is common sense then it
must be simple. If it is simple it is simple to make a specification for
it. So why not engage in that simple exercise to protect ourselves from

The problem is that this issue of extending HTML is *not* simple. People
want to use HTML snippets in radically different and incompatible ways.
We could just close our eyes, standardize a namespace and hope it all
works out for the best but I strongly suspect that it will not. I
believe history is on my side.

> p.s. Shouldn't that be "duct tape", Paul and Don?  We don't want the
>      SPCA down on us.

I just copied Don. So much for my common sense. :)

 Paul Prescod  - ISOGEN Consulting Engineer speaking for only himself

When I'm gone, boxing will be nothing again.  The fans with the cigars
and the hats turned down'll be there, but no more housewives and little
men in the street and foreign presidents.  ... I was the onliest boxer
in history people asked questions like a senator. -- Muhammad Ali

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