I was going to comment on this to tye's post, but it's just as valid here.
"What if" Mosaic 0.9 had a pop up dialog that warned of invalid HTML, from day one? Where would we be now? Let me extrapolate:
Since it would be expected that web page designers would check their own pages using the first generation browsers, they would early on discover their page errors and fix them. The typical end user would have never seen these errors save from sloppy HTML writers that didn't test.
When the first generation HTML editors would be introduced, they would be careful to make sure that they produced clean, valid HTML code as to make less work on the end writer to clean up this code before it was put on the web.
From that point on, you'd get the same circle of dependacy as we had in reality, but this time with adherence on strictness. All HTML that would be published today, save by those that lack any QA, would be clean and well-formed...
...however, there is the Microsoft factor to consider here. It can be easily suggested that MS would have been to first to disable this pop up dialog to an option that could be turned off after the first instance, or disabled it completely. The implications of this are hard to determine; it could have speed up their 'domination' of the web by offering a solution that allowed 'bad' code through mostly unnoticably, or it could have caused them to be shuned by the community for trying to hide bad code. But once someone did that, others would have followed, and we might be back exactly where we are today, save for the lack of some HTML atrocities like BLINK and FRAME.
In the today of this history, we would have never accepted that pop-up message during causal browsing, but if history was slightly different, we may have been upset to not find it there when it was needed.
That's why I refer to the strength of XML; we as a collective computer community are not simply looking at XML as tag soup as HTML was originally, but as a well-structured document in terms of opening and closing tags with attributes. Assuming that you can properly write out this format (which is easy) and read in this format without accepting flaws (difficult, but people have put solutions in place for this already, no need to reinvent said wheel), then the rest of XML which allows for free format of data items is in place. And people do realize that, and are making sure that while they may be sending XML documents that have extra or lacking data, the XML is well formed and does not fail in parsing. This is a very good first step in more adaptable and usable data formats.
In reply to Re: (FoxUni) Re(2): Larry vs. Joel vs. Ovid vs. Masem vs. Web browsers