W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > February 2009

Re: What's the problem? "Reuse of 1998 XHTML namespace is potentially misleading/wrong"

From: Robin Berjon <robin@berjon.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2009 17:23:45 +0100
Cc: Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>, Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-Id: <6266DD40-CB0F-498B-84ED-2FCE1336D284@berjon.com>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
On Feb 16, 2009, at 22:55 , Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> When the HTML and XHTML2 working groups were chartered, and at the  
> time WHATWG's Web Apps 1.0 was adopted as our initial draft, HTML5  
> used the classic XHTML1 XML namespace URI, while XHTML2 used a  
> different namespace URI. The HTML5 use of the 1999 XHTML URI was  
> driven by the Design Principles, most notably the Degrade Gracefully  
> principle. We'd like future XHTML5 content to work to the extent  
> possible in existing XHTML UAs, and that would not be possible if it  
> used a different namespace URI. Since then, the XHTML2 WG has  
> decided to change XHTML2 to use the XHTML1 namespace URI. Because  
> XHTML2 changes the meaning and behavior of various XHTML elements in  
> an incompatible way, this creates a conflict.
> However, since the conflict was created by an XHTML2 change, I do  
> not think we have an obligation to make a unilateral change to avoid  
> it. Furthermore, we have a clearly stated technical justification  
> for our use of the XHTML1 namespace based on our Design Principles.  
> If the XHTML2 WG would like us to change, they should provide a  
> technical justification.
> In conclusion, I think we should affirm our use of the XHTML1  
> namespace and politely decline the XHTML2 WG's request to change our  
> namespace URI.

I find Maciej's assessment to be both factually accurate and fair. The  
XHTML2 WG's charter is actually rather clear in considering that  
existing HTML and XHTML are "legacy", and that they will make no  
attempt at being compatible with existing deployed formats and  
implementations: XHTML2 "will include new features such as XForms and  
XML Events as replacements for legacy HTML/XHTML features", and  
furthermore "The Working group may create, or encourage the creation  
of, conversion tools to: Update existing XHTML 1.x content to XHTML 2  
[or] Convert XHTML2 content to XHTML 1.x, for delivery to older  

The XHTML2 WG is therefore operating outside of its charter if it is  
attempting to make XHTML2 backwards-compatible, and acting unfriendly  
in creating a naming clash that it doesn't need to complete its  

I would therefore recommend that:

  - this WG simply ignore the issue;
  - that the team kindly remind the XHTML2 WG that it is expected to  
stick to its charter, doubly so in politically charged areas;
  - if no change happens, that this be dealt with at the AC level with  
easily justified formal objections at the next transition request for  

Robin Berjon - http://berjon.com/
     Feel like hiring me? Go to http://robineko.com/
Received on Tuesday, 17 February 2009 16:24:33 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Thursday, 29 October 2015 10:15:42 UTC