Nice write-up, Chris! I agree with most of your points. Generally speaking, readability is much more important than file size, compression, or just laziness while typing — especially when you’re working in a team (IMHO). But then again, “readability” is a subjective measurement, which is why we end up with so many different coding styles.
However, I feel like I should clarify why I write blog posts like the ones you mentioned.
I don’t advocate
the omission of optional quotes, start/end tags, or semicolons for that matter — but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy figuring out and writing about how exactly these things work, and what the exact rules are. It’s fun to figure out how much we as web developers can get away with — not necessarily to make use of this information, but mostly to learn something new.
P.S. As +Michael Mahemoff
mentioned, this information could be useful for minifiers though. IMHO developers should write readable code (whatever they consider to be readable), and let minifiers take care of the rest. For every blog post I’ve written about “optional language parts” that aren’t considered in YUI Compressor already, I’ve filed a ticket over at their issue tracker: http://yuilibrary.com/projects/yuicompressor/query?reporter=mathias#report-result
Other write-ups inspired me to report browser bugs (of which I ended up fixing a few myself), and to patch various open-source projects.