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Re: [whatwg] Video proposals

From: Robert Brodrecht <w3c@robertdot.org>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 18:58:08 -0600 (CST)
Message-ID: <53210.66.151.50.244.1174352288.squirrel@www.robertdot.org>
To: <jirka@kosek.cz>
Cc: <public-html@w3.org>, <whatwg@whatwg.org>


Jirka Kosek said:
>>>But for maintaining interoperability it is necessary to define some
>>>basic set of widely recognized formats. I would support separate W3C
>>>effort to define "Web profile" which would say something like: "Your
>>> Web should be made only of HTML X.Y, CSS 2.1, GIF, PNG, JPEG, MP3
>>> and Theora files if you want to be it accessible to the largest
>>> audience."

>> To me, it's the designer's job to do browser testing and know which
>> formats work on which systems.  It's easier for a designer to check,
>> update, and keep an internal list of format he or she wants to use
>> than it would be for the W3C to keep up with a list (normative or
>> not).

> W3C currently keeps normative list of HTML elements. Do you think that
> W3C should give up, disband this and other WGs and each designer should
> test which tag is supported between dozen of web-browsers and create
> his/her own markup language (which will be subset of HTML plus some
> widely supported "non-standard" extensions)? I think no.

Let's not get melodramatic.  You were talking about file format support
not HTML elements.  While it is the job of the W3C HTML WG to come up with
a recommendation, the W3C is powerless to force any browser to implement
the recommendation.  Fortunately, browser makers at least try to conform
to W3C recommendations.  What you are saying has nothing to do with what
file formats a browser supports, and is a complete misunderstanding of
what I was suggesting.

The file formats supported by browsers are largely at the discretion of
the browser makers.  IE 6 does not support alpha PNGs, for example, nor
did it support the attribute selectors of CCS 2.  So, to reach "the widest
possible audience" with the same user experience, your suggest file
formats list could NOT include CSS 2 or alpha PNGs, as IE 6 still has
major market share.  Further, IE6 (maybe 7?) doesn't support the <abbr>
tag.  I don't know how far back that would set us, but technically, we
couldn't say to use HTML 4 to (accurately) interact with the largest
possible audience.

If a browser doesn't implement a certain file format, it is the vendor's
prerogative.  It's still even the vendor's prerogative to fully support a
W3C recommendation.  We might be able to cry foul if the vendor doesn't
support a recommendation (such policing is thankfully done by
WebStandards.org), but we can't really say anything about the fact that
Safari doesn't support WMV, or that Internet Explorer can't use PDFs in an
<img> tag.

As far as I know, it has always been the developer's job to make sure the
file formats he or she uses will work cross-browswer and cross-platform. 
I don't see any reason to get the W3C involved in this.  I also doubt the
W3C would want to spend the effort / time / money to monitor what file
formats (of all the file formats on the Internet) work on what browsers. 
I think this job may well be impossible.

Now, if you want a list of non-normative suggested file formats, that
might be different.  But, I'd guess most of us already know that we can
use PNG (but be careful of alpha transparency), GIF, and JPEG with
something like HTML 4.0 and XHTML served as text/html, something like CSS
2, and JavaScript (be careful of DOM / API incompatibility).  At this
point, I would guess that is all that I would bet on for
cross-visual-browser, cross-platform, native (aka non-plugin), file format
support.  I don't see any need for that list to be published by the W3C,
though.  WebStandards.org might be interested in doing leg work on that,
though (even though it is about de facto standards).

-- 
Robert <http://robertdot.org>
Received on Tuesday, 20 March 2007 00:44:16 GMT

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