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Re: URL parsing in HTML5

From: Martin J. Dürst <duerst@it.aoyama.ac.jp>
Date: Fri, 04 Nov 2011 14:23:58 +0900
Message-ID: <4EB376EE.4030607@it.aoyama.ac.jp>
To: Peter Saint-Andre <stpeter@stpeter.im>
CC: "public-iri@w3.org" <public-iri@w3.org>, public-html-comments@w3.org, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, "Paul Cotton (pcotton@microsoft.com)" <pcotton@microsoft.com>, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, "Michael(tm) Smith" <mike@w3.org>, Adam Barth <ietf@adambarth.com>, "Edward O'Connor" <ted@oconnor.cx>
Hello Peter, others,

On 2011/11/04 13:21, Peter Saint-Andre wrote:
> After chatting during TPAC 2011 with Addison, Larry, Richard, Ian, Mike,
> Ted, Julian (etc.), I'd like to share some thoughts about a possible
> compromise / resolution regarding Issue 56 in the HTML WG:
> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/tracker/issues/56
> Some observations and opinions:
> 1. It is unlikely that existing browsers will change their current URL
> parsing behavior. (I am not judging whether that behavior is good or bad.)

I agree that it's very unlikely that they change it in areas where they 
all agree on a particular behavior. Discussions in the IRI WG have often 
very quickly come up with examples where major browsers differ, and (at 
least) in these areas, some change seems desirable.

> 2. Documentation of that behavior is out of scope for the revisions to
> RFC 3987, and outside the charter of the IRI WG, because it's a matter
> of URI [pre-]processing (RFC 3986) and not IRI processing (RFC 3987).

I have to say that I'm very surprised to see such an "out of scope" 
statement. Of course, I haven't been part to the discussions you 
mention, and I admit that coming from you as the responsible Area 
Director, such a statement carries a lot of weight.

However, as far as I can remember, the issue of how browsers deal with 
IRIs was always an important part in the deliberations that lead up to 
the formation of the WG, and also during the WG.

Also, saying that browsers do URI (pre-)processing but not IRI 
(pre-)processing surprises me quite a lot, because the single most 
important difference between URIs and IRIs is that the later allow 
non-ASCII characters, and browsers definitely do that. This is despite 
the fact that the HTML5 spec likes to call these "URL"s (which is 
neither URI nor IRI).

> 3. It is unlikely that RFC 3986 will ever be modified to recommend the
> current behavior, and simply impossible before HTML5 is advanced at the
> W3C (even if such modifications were desirable).

Fully agreed.

> 4. As far as I can see, the current behavior is in fact out of scope for
> RFC 3986 and any future possible revisions to RFC 3986 because:
>     (a) it is mostly or completely a matter of pre-processing of strings
>     that look like URIs/URLs/"web-addresses" -- we could call these
>     "candidate strings" or "proto-URLs" or somesuch to disambiguate them
>     from URIs
>     (b) this pre-processing behavior is applied only in the web context
>     by browsers and software applications that want to be consistent
>     with browsers
>     (c) because of (b), there is no great danger that this behavior will
>     "leak" into processing of URIs in general (mailto:, sip:, tel:,
>     URNs, and so on)

Mostly agree, except for (c). URI/IRI/URL processing isn't a matter of 
schemes; browsers handle mailto: schemes, and some deal with tel: 
schemes and others.

> 5. There's no necessity for work on documentation of the current URL
> parsing behavior to happen at the IETF, given that it's out of scope for
> the IRI WG.

As said above, I disagree with the later part of the sentence, and 
therefore have to disagree with the overall conclusion.

It may very well be that for various and potentially even very good 
reasons, it is better to do this work somewhere else than at the IETF, 
but "it's out of scope for the IRI WG" doesn't really make a good 
reason, because the IRI WG was formed and until now has worked under the 
assumption that it's in scope.

[That the IRI WG hasn't made much progress on this issue may be a good 
reason to decide it shouldn't be part of the IRI WGs work, and should be 
done somewhere else, but that would be a different reason.]

Regards,   Martin.

> Although this work could be done as an individual (non-WG)
> I-D at the IETF, I think it could more easily be done at the W3C, either
> as part of the HTML specification or as a separate document (the latter
> might be preferable so that it can be reviewed in a more focused manner
> and referenced more easily by other W3C specifications, but naturally I
> would leave such decisions up to folks at the W3C). [The IRI WG is still
> responsible for rfc3987bis, but that's off-topic for this email message.]
> If folks can agree on the foregoing points, then I think it would be
> productive to work on proposed revisions to the current text (or at
> least what I believe is the current text):
> http://www.w3.org/TR/html5/Overview.html#parsing-urls
> I would be happy to make concrete suggestions during that revision
> process if someone from the W3C could point to the preferred venue or
> process (e.g., wiki page or bugzilla comments).
> I look forward to discussing this further tomorrow morning during the
> HTML WG session:
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2011Nov/0013.html
> Peter
> --
> Peter Saint-Andre
> https://stpeter.im/
Received on Friday, 4 November 2011 05:24:46 UTC

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