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Re: {agenda} HTML WG telcon 2009-05-21

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Thu, 21 May 2009 00:59:39 -0700
Cc: 'Sam Ruby' <rubys@intertwingly.net>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-id: <EC2DCFBC-F36B-4221-AC97-0C1A5E3EAB87@apple.com>
To: Larry Masinter <LMM@acm.org>

On May 20, 2009, at 11:59 PM, Larry Masinter wrote:

> Speaking as someone with a long-term investment in web standards:
> Design Principles:
> My main objection to the Design Principles (and the document that has
> resulted from them) is the fundamental assumption -- made from the
> beginning, alas -- to confound the "describe, as best we can, what  
> HTML in
> the wild is today, and how to process it in a way that is bug- 
> compatible
> with IE" with the other goal of "define new features that increase the
> expressivity and interactivity of the web", in a way that  
> fundamentally ties
> any future advances to the mess of the past. I think it's a step  
> backward,
> unnecessary, and leads to  a much worse, broken, inconsistent, and  
> unhappy
> world for users, authors, and future browser-makers. It was a bad  
> technical
> decision, made for short-term political (browser-wars) reasons.

I think you misstate the motivation for HTML5. The design of HTML5 is  
not based on "political" reasons (whatever that means) or short-term  
thinking. It was based on a conscious, well-considered decision to  
provide new features to the existing Web platform, instead of engaging  
in ocean-boiling exercises or ceding the future of the Web to  
proprietary technologies. Those of us who have been involved since the  
early days consider this a step forward from the past practice of  
reinventing things from scratch, or writing specs that are idealized  
fictions and ignored in practice.

> Name of document:
> I also agree with Roy's assessment [1] that the document is named
> incorrectly and should not be released with the current name. I'm less
> concerned about what it is exactly renamed TO, my requirement is  
> that it be
> clear that it the document is not a "Technical Specification" of a
> "HyperText Markup Language".
> As the use cases almost exclusively considered were "browser" use  
> cases, the
> document is most like a "Functional Specification for HTML5-based  
> Browsers",
> as it seems to fill that role, so that's my suggestion of what to  
> rename it
> TO.
> [1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007Nov/0430.html

HTML5 specifies conformance criteria for at least the following  
conformance classes:

- Interactive user agents, including browsers
      (This category includes the traditional graphical interactive  
browser, as well as aural browsers, text-only browsers, and all sorts  
of user agents that would not clasically be considered browsers at all.)
- Non-interactive presentation user agents
- User agents with no scripting support
- Data mining tools
- Authoring tools and markup generators

Therefore it would be facially inaccurate to give it a title that  
appears to limit its scope to browsers.

In addition, I continue to hold that the document should not be titled  
by people who disagree with its fundamental premises and think most of  
the contents are bunk. If you disagree with it on the merits, fine,  
but normally we do not allow written works to be titled by their  

[... snip ...]

> As a counter-proposal: Treat the current draft as a Member  
> Submission from
> the WhatWG consortium. Finding someone to act as editor, in a way  
> that is
> consistent with the W3C process.  Ian could be editor if he is  
> willing to
> act in that role, rather than his current role.

The draft was accepted and published by the WG, and Ian was accepted  
as editor. These resolutions were all passed by overwhelming  
majorities. Perhaps you can find consensus to reverse these decisions,  
rescind the Working Draft, republish it as a Member Submission, and  
appoint a new editor. Personally, I think that is unlikely.

> Surely, if this is a document of critical concern to the W3C, we can  
> find an
> editor who is willing to follow W3C process in the last stages of
> development of that document. On the other hand -- if this is a  
> functional
> specification of current interest to a consortium of browser makers,  
> who are
> using it to complete and ship their products this summer -- there is  
> no need
> to turn the W3C process upside down just to give them bragging  
> rights of
> calling their products "open standards compliant".
> In the long run, it doesn't help the web, the W3C, the users, or  
> even the WG
> members who are short-sightedly pushing for such a thing.

I beg to differ. The current process, where browser vendors innovate  
within the standards process and collaborate on the design of new  
features is a huge improvement over the bad old days of the original  
browser war. That earlier era, and the then-current fashion for purity  
in standards, is what created the mess that we now have to live with.  
To throw this progress out the window would be foolish and would  
retard development of the Open Web.

Received on Thursday, 21 May 2009 08:00:22 UTC

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