Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Postel, for my own posterity

Carlos recently again referenced Postel's Law, which basically goes,

Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send.

I have probably heard this somewhere before, but anyway just wanted to jot it down for reference.

But as the query results show, there was quite a storm in the blogosphere around Postel's law a little over a year ago. It appeared to be no more than a squabble about how liberal is "liberal". (Reminds me of Clinton: "...depends upon what the meaning of 'is' is...")

My personal view is that you should only bend over far enough and with enough common sense to fill in the blanks. XML well-formed-ness has been a known quantity for some time; I still have a hard time seeing the argument why anyone would want to be so liberal as to accept non-well-formed XML. Sure, it happened with early HTML and the web, but was HTML that well defined during the early days of the web?

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