W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > November 2008

Re: An HTML language specification vs. a browser specification

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2008 08:33:04 -0800
To: Michael Smith <mike@w3.org> (tm)
Cc: public-html@w3.org
Message-id: <FA256313-A0B1-4D39-9AA5-9FD57D6DED62@apple.com>

On Nov 18, 2008, at 8:31 PM, Michael(tm) Smith wrote:

>> if "what is (and what is not) HTML5" is limited solely to defining  
>> what
>> documents are conforming HTML5 documents, then this kind of split  
>> will not
>> fulfill the letter or the spirit of our Charter or our Design  
>> Principles.
> Again, I'm not really sure it's to our benefit to start a
> charter-lawyering debate about this. A couple possible logical
> outcome that could happen in response to that which might not be
> so welcome (depending on your perspective) would be a move to
> recharter the group.

The reason I bring up these formalities is that some have tried to  
make it look like the HTML5 spec is surprising and out of line with  
W3C practice, and also pointed out that the ultimate decision-makers  
are the W3C and the Working Group. However, these entities have spoken  
repeatedly, and some details of the spec that are now being objected  
to (error handling, DOM interfaces) are part of what the Working Group  
was asked to do by the W3C.

>> Anyone is of course free to question our group's founding documents  
>> and
>> previous decisions. But let's be clear - what is being proposed by  
>> many is a
>> radical change in approach from what we have been asked to do by  
>> the W3C,
>> and from what many of us have seen as our mission.
> I can well understand you and others viewing it as a change in
> approach from what you've see as our mission, but it does seem
> clear that there are others within the group and outside the group
> who do see what is being proposed as part of our mission, even if
> it is a radical change in approach.

It's acceptable for them to have that point of view. But at some  
point, it becomes unproductive to continue to question the basic goals  
and deliverables of the Working Group. This is why I would be against  
a proposal to recharter. The original charter comment period was more  
than adequate and had much higher visibility than the typical W3C WG  
charter. We are quickly approaching the two year point of the group.

In addition, while just about everyone seems to agree that some parts  
of the spec could be split out productively, some requested  
separations, such as parsing, DOM interfaces, error handling, and  
"just the language spec" are not, in my opinion, even reasonable  
requests. First, they are highly impractical given the state of the  
spec, and our compatibility requirements. But beyond that, these are  
changes that are not asked of any other W3C markup language. I have  
never seen a call for removing DOM interfaces from XForms, or error  
recovery from SVG.

At some point, I think the right thing to do is note the objections  
and move on. I think objecting to HTML5 doing things that many other  
W3C specs do, and which are specifically called for in the charter, is  
prima facie not reasonable.

Received on Wednesday, 19 November 2008 16:33:45 UTC

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