The First HTML Page Still Renders

If you look at the headers from GET’ing, it has these lines:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Last-Modified: Thu, 03 Dec 1992 08:37:20 GMT

I believe that it really hasn’t been updated since 1992. Look at the top snippet of the HTML to see why I think this:

<TITLE>The World Wide Web project</TITLE>
<NEXTID N="55">
<H1>World Wide Web</H1>The WorldWideWeb (W3) is a wide-area<A
NAME=0 HREF="WhatIs.html">
hypermedia</A> information retrieval
initiative aiming to give universal
access to a large universe of documents.<P>
Everything there is online about
W3 is linked directly or indirectly
to this document

There are a few obvious differences between this and modern HTML

  1. No enclosing <HTML> tag
  2. <HEADER> instead of <HEAD>
  3. <P> is being used like <BR/>

But, Safari renders it as I think it was intended.

Is this because bad HTML has always been rendered? Or is HTML somehow backwards compatible to this? I suspect the former.

I’ve always been annoyed that browsers render bad HTML. I think it makes it harder to find problems. But, I also love long-lived systems that don’t require human intervention and substitutable versions, so I hope that it’s planned backwards compatibility instead.