[uf-discuss] Re: Precise Expansion Patterns

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis bhawkeslewis at googlemail.com
Sat Dec 15 05:11:22 PST 2007

Paul Wilkins wrote:
> On Dec 15, 2007 8:21 AM, Ben Ward <lists at ben-ward.co.uk> wrote:
>> Agreed. I'll repost something I put into the GEO thread last week.
>> It's quoting directly from the HTML4 specification. This doesn't
>> actually need to have any concern with accessibility, or assistive
>> technology tools. Frankly, the difficulty in getting solid tests from
>> such tools makes that line of argument less attractive in itself. But
>> what has to be a fundamental baseline in our implementation of
>> optimisation patterns in microformats is the HTML specification we
>> are building on top of. We *do not* have the authority to disobey the
>> spec. We may interpret it _more strictly_ perhaps, but we may not
>> _relax_ any of the definitions it provides. Otherwise we have no leg
>> to stand on regarding the effect our code has on _any_ consuming tool.
> I agree, on the proviso that we take into account redefinitions from
> HTML5 and XHTML 2.0, for in several cases they have provided a greater
> understanding of the intention than the earlier HTML4 spec thought to
> provide.

Why would we need to take what HTML5 and XHTML 2.0 (currently) say into 
account? In cases where HTML5 and XHTML 2.0 purport to interpret the 
HTML 4.01 specification, it should be possible to verify such claims 
independently. Those drafts have no generalizable authority over the 
meaning of HTML 4.01. Indeed, the current WHATWG proposal is to define a 
specification for conforming user agents to deal with pre-HTML5 
documents the same way as explicitly HTML5 documents, such that it would 
be impossible to create a user agent conforming to both HTML 4.01 and HTML5.

As parts of HTML 5 and XHTML 2.0 become stable enough for experimental 
use, I think it would be useful to think about:

1. How to express microformat patterns using "redefinitions" (and new 
features) in those drafts.

2. What additional clarifications or features would benefit the 
microformats community.

I don't think it benefits anyone to start authoring HTML 4.01 (a fixed 
standard) as though it were HTML5 or XHTML 2.0 (moving targets heavily 
influenced by cowpaths created by the microformats community).

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis

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