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

Re: Design Principles

From: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
Date: Tue, 26 May 2009 18:53:50 -0700
Message-ID: <63df84f0905261853h4b7ca757wa36c803e042b2571@mail.gmail.com>
To: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
Cc: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, Anne van Kesteren <annevk@opera.com>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Is this really a discussion worth sending to the whole HTML WG?

/ Jonas

On Tue, May 26, 2009 at 6:21 PM, Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no> wrote:
> Ian Hickson On 09-05-26 20.28:
>>
>> On Tue, 26 May 2009, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
>>
>>>
>>> Ian Hickson On 09-05-26 12.34:
>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Tue, 26 May 2009, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> Ian Hickson On 09-05-26 06.38:
>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> On Tue, 26 May 2009, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Another quote from the same page: "imperative that HTML be extended
>>>>>>> in a backwards-compatible way".
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> So HTML 4 is winning. And HTML 5 has to be backwards-compatible.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> It really sounds from this as if it is very important to be
>>>>>>> compatible with HTML 4.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> No, being backwards compatible with the HTML4 spec is worthless. It's
>>>>>> being backwards compatible with legacy content and implementations that
>>>>>> matters (and that has been a cornerstone of the HTML5 effort).
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> So it was not the HTML 4 of the spec that was winning but another
>>>>> HTML4?
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> In the context of the interview, what is the difference between these
>>>> two HTML4s? I don't understand the question.
>>>>
>>>
>>> Tell me about that other HTML 4, please. I really wonder how one can say
>>> that HTML 4 is winning and mean that something that isn't in the HTML 4 spec
>>> is winning.
>>>
>>
>> I didn't say the HTML4 _spec_ was winning, I said HTML4 was winning; that
>> is, the HTML language as deployed on the Web (what you would probably call
>> "text/html", but most people wouldn't understand that, so I didn't say that
>> in the interview).
>>
>
> A spec can never win in any other way than through deployment, can it?
>
> To say that "text/html" is winning is not the same as saying that "HTML 4
> deployed" is winning. That HTML 4 is underspecified is one thing. But if the
> deployed HTML cannot in some vague or idealistic manner point to HTML 4 as
> the basis for the way it is implemented, then I cannot see how it is is
> "HTML 4.01 Deployed" we are talking about.
>
>> There is a big difference between "the current official revision of HTML",
>> which is HTML4.x, and "the specification of the current official revision of
>> HTML". It's the same as the difference between "HTML 5 the spec" and "HTML5
>> the vocabulary and text/html serialisation".
>>
>
> Se above.
>
>> Basing "HTML 5-the-spec" on "HTML4-the-spec" is IMHO an exercise in
>> futility because of the fundamental problems in "HTML4-the-spec" such as its
>> vagueness and near-complete lack of implementation conformance criteria.
>> Thus, "HTML 5-the-spec" and "HTML5-the-vocabulary" and "HTML5-
>> the-serialisation" are all based on "HTML4-the-language-as-implemented-
>> and-deployed-in-legacy-content", which has only a vague relationship to
>> "HTML44-the-spec".
>>
>
> The way you have authored the HTML 5 draft is not the only possible way it
> can/could look. It is entirely possible to build more closely on the
> concepts that are found in HTML 4 while at the same time improving all the
> underspecified sides of HTML 4. So there is more to this than the vagueness
> of HTML 4.
>
>> In fact, it is the vagueness of the relationship between "HTML4-as-
>> deployed", what one might call "reality", and "HTML4-the-spec", what one
>> might call "theory", which is one of the biggest problems that I am trying
>> to fix with HTML5. My goal is that with HTML5 there be no difference between
>> how HTML5 is deployed in implementations and how the spec _says_ it should
>> be deployed in implementations.
>>
>
>
> When we say "reality" then we usually mean something that /differs/ from
> what theory says about the same reality.  If HTML 4 is silent about
> something, then there is no reality to differ from.
>
>
>>>>>>> It really sounds as if mentioning HTML 4 should have had close to
>>>>>>> high weight. (Except that the air we are breathing is called HTML 4 so we
>>>>>>> really should have something more unobvious to say.)
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Perhaps you really meant that the DOM is winning? That "text/html" is
>>>>>>> winning? However, that sounded so boring ...
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Not sure what you mean. I meant that HTML has a high deployment rate
>>>>>> today (in terms of user agents and content) compared to Flash and
>>>>>> Silverlight, and that the HTML5 work is intended to continue this trend.
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> XHTML is also HTML.
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> I don't understand what this means
>>>>
>>>
>>> The high deployment of HTML that you talk about includes a lot of XHTML.
>>>
>>
>> As I see it there are two ways to define "XHTML" deployment: Deployment in
>> the sense that documents have an XHTML DOCTYPE, and deployment in the sense
>> that documents actually get processed according to the XHTML specification's
>> rules (e.g. using an XML parser).
>>
>
> Of course.
>
>> Last I checked, about 15% of content had an XHTML DOCTYPE.
>> Last I checked, about 0.002% of content was processed as XHTML.
>>
>> I don't consider the presence of the DOCTYPE an indicator of deployment in
>> any useful sense. I don't consider 0.002% a high deployment rate.
>>
>
> Those 15% can at least not be counted as "HTML 4 as she are spoke".  Perhaps
> we could call it "XHTML treated as HTML 4 are spoke".
>
>>>> or its relevance to either my comments above or the discussion as a
>>>> whole.
>>>>
>>>
>>> I just note that one can praise "HTML 4" outside the WG. But when "HTML
>>> 4" is mentioned here, it is used as pretext for dismissing the argument.
>>>
>>
>> "HTML4-the-deployed-language" is clearly a wild success. If it wasn't, I
>> wouldn't be interested in working on HTML5! There's a huge difference,
>> however, between the language as deployed, and the language as specified.
>
> So, how shall I consider that you view that "huge" difference? Do you mean
> that the deployed HTML 4 has rules for things that specified HTML 4 doesn't
> have? Or do you mean that deployed HTML 4 in practise has stricter
> rules/requirements than specified HTML 4 has? Or do you mean that deployed
> HTML 4 contradicts the specified HTML 4? The language you use mostly leads
> the thoughts to the last option.
>
>> The "HTML4-the-spec" document is the one that is widely criticised. I do
>> not believe that arguments that use "HTML4-the-spec" as a base are generally
>> to be given much weight. I do believe that arguments that use
>> "HTML4-as-deployed" are to be given a lot of weight.
>>
>
> I cannot see how one can talk about deployment without reference to
> specification.
>
>> I hope this clarifies the confusion.
>>
>
> --
> leif halvard silli
>
>
Received on Wednesday, 27 May 2009 01:54:48 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Monday, 29 September 2014 09:39:03 UTC