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Re: An HTML language specification

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2008 07:28:48 +0000 (UTC)
To: Mark Baker <distobj@acm.org>
Cc: public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0811170707490.1041@hixie.dreamhostps.com>

On Mon, 17 Nov 2008, Mark Baker wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 14, 2008 at 4:23 PM, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch> wrote:
> > Could _you_ elaborate in detail on what makes a "language" spec vs
> > whatever the HTML5 spec is?
> 
> A language specification defines the language

This seems tautological. Could you elaborate?


> and the mappings to and from a serialized form.

I agree with this part, although it seems not everyone else does.


> In other words then, I believe HTML 5 should be limited to (roughly) 
> sections 1, 3, and 8 of the latest published WD.

You would exclude section 2 (in particular 2.4), which defines the 
syntaxes allowed in all the attributes, and section 4, which defines the 
vocabulary? I would have thought section 4 was pretty much the most 
important part of any "language" specification.

Presumably you intend this set of sections to indicate a desire to exclude 
the DOM APIs from the language, but wouldn't that mean that SVG was also 
not a language specification? What makes SVG a language specification when 
HTML5 is not?

I should note that excluding the DOM APIs from HTML5 is really not an 
option. HTML4 and DOM2 HTML tried that and we ended up with a disaster: 
the APIs and the vocabulary aren't defined together, so features like 
<video> are effectively impossible to introduce; and the interaction of 
the declarative features, the DOM features, and the dynamic behavior (e.g. 
the behavior of navigating a browsing context) become incredibly hard to 
define if all three parts are in different documents.

One of the biggest goals of HTML5 is to fix up the mess that was left from 
leaving things like Window and the navigation algorithm undefined. These 
are core to how HTML works. We can't leave those out.

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Monday, 17 November 2008 07:29:24 GMT

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