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RE: Extensibility strategies

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2008 07:27:54 +0000 (UTC)
To: Justin James <j_james@mindspring.com>
Cc: 'HTML WG' <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0808020703020.13029@hixie.dreamhostps.com>


I just wanted to jump in and clarify one point which I think may be 
important to consider:

On Sat, 2 Aug 2008, Justin James wrote:
> > 
> > The solution to a lack of peer review is peer review, not syntax.
> 
> I agree *completely*. But we need *something* in place that lets browser 
> vendors extend HTML at the speed which they code, not the speed which we 
> get specs out the door.

We can discuss features much quicker than implementors can code and ship 
them. Many of the features in HTML5 are examples of this:

- postMessage() will likely be in then ext version of all four major 
browsers, and we discussed it and got it pretty much nailed down in time 
for most of them to get it sorted out.

- Web Workers were specced in about a week once browser vendors came to 
the table and asked for a spec.

- <video> went from proposal to thorough spec in a few months, in plenty 
of time for implementors.

There are lots of other examples. The point is that when implementors come 
to the Web community first, we can get a basic agreement hammered out much 
quicker than they can code it, and then we avoid all the problems of lack 
of peer review and of having to have extension mechanisms.

Now don't get me wrong. None of the examples above are complete. We're 
still collecting implementation and author feedback, and I'm sure there 
will be many more changes as we tweak things. But we don't need to 
actually finish the spec to avoid the problems of browsers making up their 
own extensions. Indeed, a spec can't ever be complete before getting two 
full implementations. Specs and implementations grow in tandem.

It's only when browser vendors fail to come to the table at all -- as with 
canvas, for instance -- that we get problems.

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Saturday, 2 August 2008 07:28:30 UTC

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