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Re: Request for clarification on HTML 5 publication status (ISSUE-19)

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 11:04:26 -0800
Message-Id: <8E0EA341-78F9-40A0-8D5B-2982DBC6A212@gbiv.com>
Cc: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, "public-html@w3.org WG" <public-html@w3.org>
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>

On Nov 29, 2007, at 1:46 AM, Ian Hickson wrote:
>> From Roy Fielding:
> |
> | This draft has almost nothing to do with HTML. It is a treatise on
> | browser behavior. That is a fine standard to have, but deserves a
> | different title so that the folks who just want to implement HTML  
> can do
> | so without any of this operational/DOM nonsense.
>
> Roy's complaints seem to be technical issues that are easily dealt  
> with in
> future versions (this is, after all, nothing but a FPWD). (Admittedly,
> these objections are controversial and don't really line up with  
> our newly
> published design principles, so it is possible that the objections can
> never be dealt with in a fashion that Roy agrees with, but that,  
> again,
> doesn't seem like a good reason to delay FPWD publication.)

Actually, I would call them editorial issues that go to the heart of
what the WG is supposed to be drafting.  You keep calling this thing
HTML5 because that's what you started calling it years ago.  I call it
a browser behavior specification, because that's what I wanted the
W3C to work on back in 1996.  They are the same specification.
I agree it is needed, but it has very little to do with defining the
Hypertext Mark-up Language.  HTML is a data format with a small set
of default rendering and behavioral semantics.  HTML does not require
a DOM, support for any specific scripting language, or even stylesheets.
There are literally hundreds of technologies involved in the Web that
are orthogonal to HTML -- they are not HTML.  HTML is the mark-up
language.

The problem with publishing it is simply that the title is wrong.
It will mislead a lot of developers who are looking for a definition
of HTML and find, instead, a lot of half-baked ideas about how a
browser should compose a DOM, reinterpret HTTP, make useless requests,
and a lot of other things you've added to enshrine browser bugs.
It is not HTML5 by any stretch of the imagination.

Call it "Uniform Browser Behavior for the Web" and my informal
objection is waived.  I still won't agree with the suggestions in
the draft, but at least browser developers can argue about the
contents based on what it is actually specifying and what they
are willing to agree to implement. If anyone wants to define an
HTML5 specification that defines the document format based on what
elements and attributes have been agreed to by all of the relevant
user agents (not just browsers), then they can do so without the
other noise.

....Roy
Received on Thursday, 29 November 2007 19:04:42 GMT

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