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Re: On ISSUE-41: Decentralized extensibility

From: Smylers <Smylers@stripey.com>
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2008 16:19:36 +0100
To: "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20080721151936.GA13143@stripey.com>

Chris Wilson writes:

> I think extensibility is a very good idea,

Hi there.  To help with understanding this, could you give a few
examples of the kind of extensions you're thinking about here?

> Particularly as I look at the challenges of sanely incorporating
> vocabularies such as SVG and MathML, and then what we would need to do
> when the next vocabulary comes along, it would seem to be a necessity

I'd've thought that any future vocabulary will require certain behaviour
to go with it, such that a standard will need to specify the behaviour
and browsers will need to implement it.  That sounds like a considerable
amount of work.  Would working out the syntax now, rather than then,
significantly ease the burden of adding this vocabulary?

Or is the benefit that browser engines could generically parse all
extension vocabularies (without knowing their semantics) and hand off
implementation to plug-ins, such that no core-browser changes are needed
for such new vocabularies?

Are you expecting many such new vocabularies?

> (or we're just encouraging people to roll their own).

Interpreting "people" as "the group writing the standard defining what
the vocabulary does", why would that be a bad thing?  They are
specifying everything else to do with it, so are probably in a good
position to specify the syntax as well.

If we specify the syntax now (without knowing what these hypothetical
new vocabularies are) then surely there's a risk of us not doing it as
well as the group who are experts in the vocabulary in question?  We
could end up putting inappropriate restrictions on them, such that their
vocabulary is hampered into a less convenient form, or that they ignore
our syntax entirely (making it pointless).

> I think it's a poor language that doesn't think about its own
> extensibility,

XML obviously does extensibility.  All HTML features are available in an
XML language, XHTML.  Why do we need for HTML to be arbitrarily
extensible with any vocabulary, when we already have XHTML which does
that?

Smylers
Received on Monday, 21 July 2008 15:20:12 GMT

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