Please leave your sense of logic at the door, thanks!

Author Archive

Help Test HTML5 Parsing in Gecko

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

The HTML5 parsing algorithm is meant to demystify HTML parsing and make it uniform across implementations in a backwards-compatible way. The algorithm has had “in the lab” testing, but so far it hasn’t been tested inside a browser by a large number of people. You can help change that now!

A while ago, an implementation of the HTML5 parsing algorithm landed on mozilla-central preffed off. Anyone who is testing Firefox nightly builds can now opt to turn on the HTML5 parser and test it.

How to Participate?

First, this isn’t release-quality software. Testing the HTML5 parser carries all the same risks as testing a nightly build in general, and then some. It may crash, it may corrupt your Firefox profile, etc. If you aren’t comfortable with taking the risks associated with running nighly builds, you shouldn’t participate.

If you are still comfortable with testing, download a trunk nightly build, run it, navigate to about:config and flip the preference named html5.enable to true. This makes Gecko use the HTML5 parser when loading pages into the content area and when setting innerHTML. The HTML5 parser is not used for HTML embedded in feeds, Netscape bookmark import, View Source, etc., yet.

The html5.enable preference doesn’t require a restart to take effect. It takes effect the next time you load a page.

What to Test?

The main thing is getting the HTML5 parser exposed to a wide range of real Web content that people browse. This may turn up crashes or compatibility problems.

So the way to help is to use nightly builds with the HTML5 parser for browsing as usual. If you see no difference, things are going well! If you see a page misbehaving—or, worse, crashing—with the HTML5 parser turned on but not with it turned off, please report the problem.

Reporting Bugs

Please file bugs in the “Core” product under “HTML: Parser” component with “[HTML5] ” at the start of the summary.

Known Problems

First and foremost, please refer to the list of known bugs.

However, I’d like to highlight a particular issue: Support for comments ending with --!> is in the spec, but the patch hasn’t landed, yet. Support for similar endings of pseudo-comment escapes within script element content is not in the spec yet. The practical effect is that the rest of the page may end up being swallowed up inside a comment or a script element.

Another issue is that the new parser doesn’t yet inhibit document.write() in places where it shouldn’t be allowed per spec but where the old parser allowed it.

Is There Anything New?

So what’s fun if success is that you notice no change? There are important technical things under the hood—like TCP packet boundaries not affecting the parse result and there never being unnotified nodes in the tree when the event loop spins—but you aren’t supposed to notice.

However, there is a major new visible feature, too. With the HTML5 parser, you can use SVG and MathML in text/html pages. This means that you can:

And yes, you can even put SVG inside MathML <annotation-xml> or MathML inside <foreignObject>. The mixing you’ve seen in XML is now supported in HTML, too.

If you aren’t concerned with taking the steps to make things degrade nicely in browsers that don’t support SVG and MathML in HTML, you can simply copy and paste XML output from your favorite SVG or MathML editor into your HTML source as long as the editor doesn’t use namespace prefixes for elements and uses the prefix xlink for XLink attributes.

If you don’t use the XML empty element syntax and you put you SVG text nodes in CDATA sections, the page will degrade gracefully in older HTML browser so that the image simply disappears but the rest of the page is intact. You can even put a fallback bitmap as <img> inside <desc>. Unfortunately, there isn’t a similar technique for MathML, though if you want to develop one, I suggest experimenting with the <annotation> as your <desc>-like container.

There are known issues with matching camelCase names with Selectors or getElementByTagName, though.

Posted in Browsers, Processing Model, Syntax | 8 Comments » HTML Parser 1.2.1

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Version 1.2.1 of the HTML Parser is now available. It fixes an incompatibility with the DOM implementation of the latest Xerces.

Posted in DOM, Processing Model, Syntax | Comments Off on HTML Parser 1.2.1 HTML Parser 1.2.0

Friday, March 27th, 2009

I put together a new release of the HTML Parser. This is a highly recommended update for everyone who is using a previous version the parser in an application.

Posted in Processing Model, Syntax | Comments Off on HTML Parser 1.2.0 HTML Parser 1.1.0

Monday, August 25th, 2008

I have released a new version of the HTML Parser (an implementation of the HTML5 parsing algorithm in Java). The new release supports SVG and MathML subtrees, is faster than the old version, fixes bugs, is more portable and supports applications that want to do document.write().

The parser comes with a sample app that makes it possible to use XSLT programs written for XHTML5+SVG+MathML with text/html.

Warning! The internal APIs have changed. Please refer to the Upgrade Guide below.

Change Log

Upgrade Guide from 1.0.7 to 1.1.0

In all cases, you need to check that your application does not break when it receives SVG or MathML subtrees.

If you use the parser through the SAX, DOM or XOM API and do not pass an explicit XmlViolationPolicy to the constructor of HtmlParser, HtmlDocumentBuilder or HtmlBuilder:

If you really wanted the old default behavior, you should now pass XmlViolationPolicy.FATAL to the constructor.

If you did not really want to have fatal errors by default, you do not need to do anything, since ALTER_INFOSET is now the default.

If you use the parser through the SAX, DOM or XOM API and do pass an explicit XmlViolationPolicy to the constructor of HtmlParser, HtmlDocumentBuilder or HtmlBuilder:

You do not need to change your code to upgrade.

If you have your own subclass of TreeBuilder:

The abstract methods on TreeBuilder now have additional arguments for passing the namespace URI. You should upgrade your subclass to deal with the namespace URIs. (The URI is always an interned string, so you can use == to compare.)

The entry point for passing in a SAX InputSource has moved from the Tokenizer class to the Driver class (in the io package), so you should change your references from Tokenizer to Driver.

If you have your own implementation of TokenHandler:

Please refer to the JavaDocs of TokenHandler. Also note the new separation of Tokenizer and Driver mentioned above.

Posted in Syntax | Comments Off on HTML Parser 1.1.0

HTML5 Live DOM Viewer—Now in Your Browser

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Earlier, I blogged about running the HTML Parser inside Hixie’s Live DOM Viewer using the magic of the hosted mode of the Google Web Toolkit. Back then, a compiler bug in GTW 1.5 RC1 prevented the parser from running as JavaScript in the Web mode. Google has now released GWT 1.5 RC2, which contains a fix for the bug.

So without further ado, here’s Live DOM Viewer with an HTML5 parser running as JavaScript in your browser.

Try pasting in the SVG lion or some MathML in Firefox 3 and Opera 9.5.

Known problems:

A big thanks for the GWT team for making this work!

Posted in DOM, Syntax | Comments Off on HTML5 Live DOM Viewer—Now in Your Browser