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Re: Should we Publish a Language Specification?

From: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2008 03:18:46 +0100
Message-ID: <4924C906.2030502@gmx.de>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
CC: "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>

Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> 1) Why is this important for HTML, but not for SVG or MathML or XForms 
> or SMIL, where one document defines what you consider "the language" as 
> well as "all the rest"? Why is this the only W3C language where 
> implementation conformance requirements, DOM interfaces and error 
> handling should be left out of the main spec?

It may be important for the others as well.

> 2) Mike's document is explicitly only for producers. But a conformance 
> checker is a content consumer. Currently the main HTML5 spec includes 
> conformance requirements for conformance checkers. It can't do this 
> without defining what is a document conformance error and which are 
> mandatory for a conformance checker to diagnose. It would be disastrous 
> if conformance checkers flagged errors in a manner that is inconsistent 
> with Mike's document. It would be similarly disastrous if user agents 
> parsed content in a way that had unexpected results for correct syntax. 
> Both of these things are very hard to verify with a separate spec and 
> would create serious problems if the specs disagree.

Yes, that's why the syntax should be defined in a single spec.

> 3) Mike's document seems to have the implied premise that content 
> producers, unlike consumers, won't be interested in the scripting 
> interfaces. But a large proportion of Web content, especially content on 
> the most popular sites, includes some script, and correctness of that 
> content depends on scripting behavior. Some elements, such as <canvas>, 
> <event-source>, or to a lesser extend <video>, don't even make sense 
> without their scripting interfaces. So it seems to me it is not even 
> very useful as an authoring guide.

Total disagreement. The elements you mention may be important for the 
browser platform, but are totally meaningless for HTML5 as a document 
markup language. Thus they should be defined in optional modules.

> Therefore I am strongly in favor of following the standard W3C approach, 
> with a single spec that defines syntax, vocabulary, DOM interfaces and 
> error handling. I strongly object to doing otherwise solely because of 
> some vocal complainers who cannot articulate a principled reason why 
> they demand this for the HTML spec but not any other W3C markup language.

I'm making recommendations for the specs the WG I'm member of works on. 
That doesn't mean that I wouldn't make the same recommendations if I'd 
by in one of the WGs that produce these specs.

> I do agree that many scripting interfaces in the current HTML5 spec are 
> not HTML-specific and it would in theory be beneficial to break them 
> out. But trying to split the core parts of the spec courts disaster.

Best regards, Julian
Received on Thursday, 20 November 2008 02:45:33 GMT

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