Re: [dev] Re: Article about suckless on

From: FRIGN <>
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2014 10:18:45 +0100

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

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

Why is that? Are you referring to the fact parsing HTML as XML requires
the developer to be more careful with his markup and that stricter
parsing would scare off beginners?
That'd be a fair point and I agree, but on the other hand, the rule
still prevails: You write once, but parse often.

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

Yes, it sucks! This is out of question. But nothing compared to SGML.
The XML-standard has around 26 pages, whereas SGML takes around 600.
The main problem nowadays is the fact HTML is no longer used for
structuring data only, but also for other means.
In the interest of not
deprecating interfaces, the HTML5-standard still includes those
non-semantic elements, which is a shame.
XHTML 2 was proposed to break this and went back to a data-only
representation, banishing all those deprecated tags.

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

Parsing is definitely simpler, but once you've parsed XML, you build
your DOM out of it and you're ready to go.
With CSS, the problems only begin once parsing has finished, because a
rendering-engine has to be very flexible and deterministic no matter
how many styles have been given to an element.
Don't get me started on inline-CSS...

> 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).

I couldn't agree more.
It's easier to talk about solutions than actually writing them.
Nevertheless, I'm still very sad about the fact we let big corporations
take over the web and standards consortium (e.g., they initially wanted
to implement DRM into the HTML5-media-standard).
But to be fair: Given the web is expected to meet so many expectations,
this influence is a necessity, but it's gone a long way since the days
of the "academic" web.

> 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.

Yes, that's a fair point.
As Nick J. White proposed, disabling scripts in surf can already help a
lot (and is a big step forward for security).
You can already start customizing your web-interface, namely surf, to
suck less.
I can't help but see a dark future for the web we know. Corporate
influence will increase and it will be harder and harder to implement
web standards, which makes a selective approach of technologies more
and more reasonable.
I like how you compared developing a new rendering engine with
developing a new Kernel.
After all, the latter probably is less demanding.



Received on Fri Feb 21 2014 - 10:18:45 CET

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