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Re: Design Principles, Section 1.6.1 relationship to HTML 4.01

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Sat, 30 May 2009 22:36:45 +0000 (UTC)
To: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
Cc: Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>, Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0905302232010.11443@hixie.dreamhostps.com>
On Sat, 30 May 2009, Jonas Sicking wrote:
> On Sat, May 30, 2009 at 12:17 PM, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch> wrote:
> >> Yes, the charter says the goal was to "evolve" the document from HTML4.
> >> I think it is the obligation of the working group, in the documents it
> >> publishes, to say that (and why) this path wasn't actually followed, and
> >> give at least some summary of the reasons and the actual path taken.
> >
> > HTML5 is indeed an evolution of HTML4. An evolution of a language 
> > doesn't have to involve using text verbatim from the previous 
> > specification.
> 
> I think it's a question of "HTML4 as it is used on the web" vs. "the 
> HTML4 specification".
> 
> Maybe explicitly saying that it's not based on the HTML4 specification, 
> but rather HTML (or HTML4) as it is used on the web, makes it clear what 
> was done.

It's an evolution of the language described in the HTML4 specification in 
a direction that makes it more compatible with what is implemented on the 
Web. We might not have used the text of HTML4, and might not have even 
really consulted HTML4 in the creation of HTML5, but it's still an 
evolution of the language described in the HTML4 spec. Certainly, my 
knowledge of what HTML4 is certainly is based strongly on reading in 
between the lines of the HTML4 spec when it first came out (long before we 
started work on HTML5); and indeed it was knowledge of the many holes in 
the HTML4 spec, as well as debate about what HTML4 means in various 
situations, that led to much of the HTML5 spec.

So I really do think it is accurate to say that HTML5 is an evolution of 
the HTML4 language as described in the HTML4 spec; it's just that we 
didn't use the HTML4 spec as the base for writing HTML5.

As an analogy, one could watch a movie, and then later write a script that 
is a remake of that movie, or a sequel of that movie, without actually 
consulting the original movie in the creation of the new one. Just because 
the original movie wasn't consulted while the new one was written doesn't 
mean that the original movie wasn't the inspiration for the new one, or 
that the new movie is not an evolution of the old one.

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Saturday, 30 May 2009 22:37:23 UTC

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