Re: Browsers and syntax errors (Was: Captions for Figures...)

Phillip M. Hallam-Baker (
Mon, 13 Mar 1995 04:42:03 +0500

>> As a programmer, I have to disagree strongly. The most important thing a
>> program can be is forgiving of user errors.

>Does that hold for programming language compilers as well? Does that
>hold for UNIX shell scripts or, if fact, any formal textual way of
>specifying to a computer what you want it to do?

The problem is that there are a lot of HTML documents constructed by hand. It
is not possible to correct all of these so the browsers have to be tolerant.

On the programming language issue, many programming language `errors' which are
correctable are due to bad design in the first place. Many editors can insert
missed ";" and remove spurious "," this implies that the grammars need not have
resorted to this ugly kludge. In fact this is what we find. Occam, a formal
language by anyone's standard gets by without a single {, } or ;.

Occam does manage some prettry tedious bits however, like forcing the programmer
to specify the rounding method when converting an INT to a REAL and insisting
that addition is not associative (its right on both counts!)

Phill Hallam-Baker