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Perception of HTML5 (was Re: Formal definition of HTML5)

From: Henrik Dvergsdal <henrik.dvergsdal@hibo.no>
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2007 13:56:56 +0200
Message-Id: <B798E437-BF63-4F21-B076-4BA57672C759@hibo.no>
To: public-html@w3.org

On 17. apr. 2007, at 11.30, Ian Hickson wrote:

> working directly with the community of web developers, taking  
> feedback into account, iterating continuously over many years  
> improving the document as time passes.

> We will be fixing errors in our specs for years if not decades to come

> I prefer English prose over the other techniques because in my  
> experience
> it leads to better implementations

> Stability is a myth in the development of specifications as  
> complicated as

OK. Let me take a step back and try to make sense of all this.

To me HTML5 is now starting to look less like a spec/standard in the  
usual sense and more like a continuously evolving guide to building  
browsers, conformance checkers and web pages.

To me, it looks like HTML5 as proposed will not define a formal  
language in the traditional sense. Instead it will constitute the  
following two things at the same time:

1. An evolving text, reflecting a multiplicity of browsers, checkers  
and pages.

2. A kind of disciplining glue that will restrain these entities and  
keep them (almost) aligned to each other.

Strictly speaking, HTML will not be a formal language defined by the  
text in the HTML5 document. It will be a more loosely defined entity,  
ultimately bounded by actual implementations of browsers and checkers.

If this is a correct perception, it may not break the web, but it  
will lead to a few changes changes and require some rethinking in  
other areas. Among other things, it is bound lead to some changes in  
the distribution of power over the web...

Received on Tuesday, 17 April 2007 11:57:26 UTC

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