On 08/29/2010 11:33 AM, David John Burrowes wrote:
As I see it, if I'm developing for other major platforms (java, osx, windows, 
...) I have a fair degree of certainty which versions of those platforms 
support what features, and that's really useful in situations where I'm 
targeting (either for development or support) the non-current version.  So, I 
have some trouble understanding why it is good to put (what I hope will be) a 
lot of innovation in just the HTML spec into one undifferentiated definition. 
(and, presumably similar stories for the other standards specs)
OS X and Windows both pretty much have one implementation (WINE is not sufficiently complete or important to count in this regard), and Java is largely driven by a single implementation. So you can delineate support primarily by "what this version supports."--you don't have to worry about differences between different implementations.

HTML and CSS have at least four major independent implementations (Gecko, Webkit, Trident, Presto, and there are other notable but not quite so heavy market share implementations). That means that features are implemented and experimented on at four different rates; the exact level of support for a particular version would be different for all of them, at least until they all "fully" implemented it (leaving aside the exact definition of "full implementation").

Most authors don't care about whether or not an implementation supports an entire, full specification; they just want to know "Can I use this feature in this browser?" So saying that all major implementations support much of CSS 2 to a high degree of correctness is useless for knowing if, say, the author can use display: run-in. In other words, the feature tables that you think are indicative of a problem are what web authors would actually use in real life.

Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it. 
-- Donald E. Knuth

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