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Re: Please change the current name of the specification to "HTML5 and XHTML5"

From: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>
Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2008 16:16:17 +0100
Message-ID: <478CCE41.5040400@lachy.id.au>
To: Dean Edridge <dean@55.co.nz>
CC: HTMLWG <public-html@w3.org>

Dean Edridge wrote:
> But the bit that concerns me is when Anne mentions this:
> 
> From: http://annevankesteren.nl/2008/01/acid3
>> Tests need to be justified by a specification at W3C Candidate 
>> Recommendation,
>> W3C Recommendation, or equivalent for non-W3C consortia, and be from 
>> 2004 o.r before 
> 
> It seems very clear to me that there is a problem with the current 
> naming of the spec. Of course HTML5 will one day fall into one of these 
> categories above. But this highlights to me the problems that people 
> will face in the future when trying to encourage the adoption/support 
> for XHTML5. You see, as it stands, obviously XHTML5 will never be a "W3C 
> CR", "W3C Recommendation" or "equivalent non-W3C consortia".

That is a misinterpretation of the condition.  The name of the spec is 
irrelevant.  What matters is that the features being tested are 
*defined* in a specification that meets those conditions, not that the 
feature is named in the title of the specification.  Changing the title 
of the specification doesn't change what it defines.

> At the moment XHTML5 is just HTML5's poor little cousin that occupies 
> less than 3 sentences within HTML5's spec.

Actually, that is a misrepresentation of the spec.  Since most of the 
features are defined in terms of the DOM, they apply equally to both 
serialisations (except where the differences are explicitly stated).

While it is true that the HTML serialisation is covered in more detail 
in the spec, but this is because XML already has its own spec, and so 
doesn't need to be defined in this one, and because HTML has a lot more 
backwards compatibility issues to deal with.  This, however, does not 
change the fact that spec does define the language for use in boty syntaxes.

> So even if Ian Hickson & other web developers are kind enough to create 
> a Acid 4, 5, or 6 for us one day; we will never be able to specify 
> support for XHTML5 in any of them.

Yes we will because the requirements of XHTML5 are being defined in the 
HTML 5 specification, regardless of its title.

> Changing the name of the spec to "HTML5 and XHTML5" would solve this 
> problem. As XHTML5 would one day become a W3C recommendation.

There is no problem here to solve, changing the name for the reasons you 
outlined above is not necessary.

> Another reason the current name is not suitable is that there has been 
> noticeable resentment in the web development community due to people 
> thinking that the W3C has abandoned XHTML in favour of HTML. This is not 
> the case but people don't get the correct message as they browse through 
> the Blogs out there talking about HTML5.

This is an unfortunate effect of changing the way the the language is 
being developed from being defined in terms of its syntax to being 
defined in a more syntax-neutral way, in terms of the DOM.  But you 
should realise that, from HTML 2.0 to 4.01, "HTML" has in fact always 
referred to the language itself, rather than the serialisation.  Those 
specs defined and used the SGML serialisation, which was abandoned in 
HTML 5 due to lack of support.

The problem is that since HTML 5 is now defining its own custom syntax 
in order to deal with the implementation issues, finding an appropriate 
name to refer to that syntax, other than calling it the "HTML 
Serialisation", is difficult.

So, I would argue that it's the name of the serialisation that should 
change, not the spec title, but no-one has yet come up with a suitable 
alternative.

> I've been told recently that the "the spec supports both HTML and XHTML 
> equally". But I can't see this as being true.
> For example: How can the spec "support both HTML and XHTML equally" if 
> HTML5 will become a W3C recommendation but XHTML5 will not?

Your question doesn't make sense because it's same spec.  Again, 
changing its title *does not* change what it defines.

> I've also been told recently that: The real reason the spec is called 
> "HTML 5" is because shortly after this group began, the working group 
> resolved to call it that.
> 
> Here are some reasons why I feel that that survey came to the wrong 
> conclusion:
> 
> 2) Most people would have just assumed it was a foregone conclusion that 
> the spec be called HTML 5 since the WHATWG had already called it that, 
> so didn't bother to think of another name.

The WHATWG spec was actually called "Web Applications 1.0" until this 
decision was made.  It was only informally known as HTML5.

> 6) People obviously thought there was no chance of the name being 
> changed so they just went along with html 5.

That is just speculation.

> 7) People knew of the problems that naming the spec html 5 would cause 
> but didn't care about the damage that would be done to XHTML.

Again, that is just speculation, but personally, I believe you are over 
exaggerating about the damages.

> 8) People didn't know that by calling the spec "html 5", this would in 
> essence deprecate XHTML (apart from the people that knowingly wanted 
> this to happen).

Nobody wanted to deprecate XHTML and naming the spec HTML 5 does not in 
essence deprecate it.

> 9) At the time there was a lot of anti-XHTML sentiment in the air and 
> people wanted or assumed that the spec was just text/html so therefore 
> didn't see the problem with html 5 as a name.

There was in fact quite a lot of anti-HTML sentiment, with a lot of 
people arguing with should drop support for HTML completely and develop 
XHTML only.  In fact, there's still quite a lot of that.  However, the 
"anti-XHTML sentiment" you are referring to was in fact just pro-HTML 
sentiment from people arguing that the spec must support both.

> 11) A lot of people at that time (and still today) are afraid of 
> referring to the spec as being XHTML due to the risk of upsetting 
> certain other working groups.

By "certain other working groups", I assume you are referring to the 
XHTML2 WG.  However, no-one I know of is in the least bit concerned 
about upsetting them in regards to the name "XHTML".

-- 
Lachlan Hunt - Opera Software
http://lachy.id.au/
http://www.opera.com/
Received on Tuesday, 15 January 2008 15:16:32 GMT

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