[rfc-i] Proposed way forwards on backward compatibility with v2

Dave Crocker dhc at dcrocker.net
Mon Feb 17 13:26:25 PST 2014

On 2/17/2014 1:11 PM, Julian Reschke wrote:
> On 2014-02-17 21:50, Dave Crocker wrote:
>> And in this case it isn't appropriate to try.  There is nothing 'broken'
>> in the current version.  There is merely the desire for some additional
>> features.
> There are certain things we'll want to discourage, because they are
> workarounds for missing stuff. Whether we'll be able to remove those is
> a separate question (I hope we can if there's sufficient time between
> deprecation and removal).

Yes, but...

This entire discussions is an instance of a classic debate between 
theory and practice that has a particularly long history for document 
representation/presentation.  The debate is between being purely 
'structural' in constructs -- with absolutely all presentation details 
being left to the printing/formatting engine later -- versus permitting 
explicit presentation details in line.  <p> is an example of the former, 
and <vspace> is the latter.

A purist structural model is extremely appealing.  The problem is that 
it is also Procrustean.  Some of you might like having your legs get 
chopped off but some of you might not...

So yes, it's reasonable to press people to use the cleaner, more 
abstract construct.

But no, it is not reasonable to remove all ability to overcome perceived 
limitations with the abstractions.

Rather, we need to understand that the abstraction approach is unlikely 
ever to be perfect, and that the indelicate pragmatics of direct 
formatting directives is likely to continue to be (sometimes) useful.


Dave Crocker
Brandenburg InternetWorking

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