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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
> HTML

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...

--
Henrik
Received on Tuesday, 17 April 2007 11:57:26 GMT

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