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Re: ISSUE-59: normative-language-reference FPWD

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2009 08:30:49 -0500
Message-ID: <4979C689.5070609@intertwingly.net>
To: James Graham <jgraham@opera.com>
CC: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>

James Graham wrote:
> Sam Ruby wrote:
>>
>> In yesterday's call, a number of issues were raised when the topic of 
>> making "HTML 5: The Markup Language" available First Public Working 
>> Draft.  A number of issues were raised during the discussion.  Whether 
>> these were merely issues to be worked or meet the criteria for a 
>> Formal Objections was less clear to me.
>>
>> To help facilitate and focus the discussion, a few links:
>>
>> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/markup-spec/
>> http://www.w3.org/2005/10/Process-20051014/tr.html#first-wd
>> http://www.w3.org/2005/10/Process-20051014/policies#WGArchiveMinorityViews 
>>
>> It surprises me to have to say this given the makeup of this group, 
>> but: don't be shy!
> 
> The markup language spec duplicates material that is already in the HTML 
> 5 spec. My understanding is that a FPWD puts a document on the REC track 
> so I presume it would be expected to be a largely normative document. It 
> is clearly a bad idea to duplicate normative material between two 
> different documents. Therefore it seems that we should seriously 
> consider whether putting this document on the REC track is the right 
> thing to do; I guess doing so would require us to remove the 
> corresponding material from HTML 5, get all the cross-references right 
> do as not to leave any undesirable gaps where the two specs join and 
> continue to edit the documents in lockstep so they do not become out of 
> sync in the future. We would really want to be reasonably certain that 
> this represented a net win for the utility of the whole before embarking 
> on such a substantive change given the tight timeline before LC (either 
> in the W3C's original estimation or in the editor's estimation).
> 
> My intuition is that this effort is not worthwhile and that the markup 
> spec should remain as an informative document rather than as a normative 
> one. I would fully support publishing such a document as an informative 
> note along with the final HTML 5 spec.

I may be wrong, but I sense that there are a number of hidden 
assumptions behind this concern:  (1) it is inevitable that both 
documents will result in candidate recommendations, (2) that such CR's 
will be published roughly concurrently, and (3) that the current tight 
timeline[1] is achievable.

I know I don't believe that all three are true.  I suspect many others 
would be willing to say the same thing, though we may differ on which 
ones we think are most likely.

Personally, I believe that "HTML5: AVaAAfHaX" is largely the right long 
term direction, though the rate of change and the presence of a number 
of controversial items in that document makes it difficult to make that 
statement with any precision.  It may very well be true that "HTML5: 
aML" is all that we can obtain consensus around in the form of a CR in 
2010.  Another significant chunk could become a CR in 2012/2013, and 
perhaps the remainder two to three years after that.

But my crystal ball is no better than everybody else's.  My only point 
is that active precluding any possibilities at this point might turnout 
to be an rather unfortunate premature optimization long term.

At the moment, it appears that what is in "HTML: aML" is intended to be 
a proper subset of what is in "HTML5: AVaAAfHaX", and this effort has 
already produced results in the form of validator.nu becoming more 
consistent with "HTML5: AVaAAfHaX".

- Sam Ruby

[1] http://www.w3.org/html/wg/#sched
Received on Friday, 23 January 2009 13:31:26 GMT

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