Re: [dev] Re: Article about suckless on

From: Anselm R Garbe <>
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2014 11:37:30 +0100

On 17 February 2014 17:20, FRIGN <> wrote:
> I agree the web is evolving and thus asking for new fancy
> functionality, eventually replacing user-space applications in many
> cases, but is it still contemporary to favor SGML over XML?
> What shall we think about a standards consortium which gave up XHTML 2
> (that would've been a real revolution and simplification) in favour of
> yet another media markup language?
> How are web developers supposed to learn writing proper markup when the
> SGML-parser is not strict enough and trying to fix errors himself,
> unlike a XML-parser, which gives clear error messages, but is rarely
> invoked.
> Let's look at it this way: A web document is written once and parsed
> often. This simple relation makes it clear that the SGML-approach,
> which favors sloppy writing and complex parsing, is faulty and
> unpredictable in comparison to the XML-approach, which requires strict
> conformance while writing, but is relatively simple to parse and work
> with.
> The web is definitely not an easy topic to discuss. I just touched
> markup-languages, but there are so many different other interesting
> areas to talk about.
> For everyone interested, you can check your web documents with the
> Schneegans XML Schema Validator[1], which is a bit stricter than the
> W3-validator.
> It all comes down to the point that the development of a truly suckless
> web-browser would be focused on implementing a carefully selected
> subset of common web standards.
> This means that, for instance, no one would try to write a SGML-parser,
> which is impossible by definition, but rather implement a simple
> XML-parser.

The web wouldn't be so successful if everything was strictly XML
based, more the opposite IMO.

Apart from this, XML parsing is *not* simple. And XML sucks [0].

> Once the DOM is set up this way, you're just a few steps away from
> implementing one of the numerous Javascript-engines already around.
> Looking at CSS, which probably is the hardest thing to implement, going
> for CSS 2 and CSS 3's new selectors only should be a sane compromise.

I doubt that CSS is the hardest thing to implement. At least parsing
CSS is appears to me to be simpler than XML parsing.

> All of this combined should enable you to browse 98% of all
> websites without problem.


> You'd just have to live with the fact not being able to play Quake 3 in
> your browser.

Well, my point is this: from a technological point of view the web
sucks like PITA. However the web has become so important for content,
that most of us can't live without it.
A while ago I liked the idea to invent some complete new display
technology in order to replace the web. However that won't happen.

So there are a couple of thousand developers doing web browser
engines. We can't really compete and I think there are more important
things to do than implementing yet another browser engine.
(similar story for the OS kernel btw).

Hence nowadays I do think: let's try to package the complexity into
boxes where we can control the user interface to make our workstyle as
efficient as possible. At least the user interface has to suck less.

Otherwise we'd end up with starting all over again with our first
pocket calculator.


Received on Fri Feb 21 2014 - 11:37:30 CET

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