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Re: ISSUE-41/ACTION-97 decentralized-extensibility

From: Brendan Eich <brendan@mozilla.org>
Date: Mon, 5 Oct 2009 19:15:03 -0700
Cc: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, Adrian Bateman <adrianba@microsoft.com>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, Tony Ross <tross@microsoft.com>
Message-Id: <1FEAD1E7-42CF-4E68-816B-79FB80DC51BC@mozilla.org>
To: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
On Oct 2, 2009, at 5:33 PM, Sam Ruby wrote:

> Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>>    (b) Representatives of browser implementors other than Microsoft  
>> have expressed reluctance to support a mechanism similar to XML  
>> namespaces in text/html syntax for philosophical and technical  
>> reasons. In particular, there are concerns about the usability of  
>> prefix-based indirection for authors, and about the wisdom of  
>> allowing unilateral extensions to the language in such a way that  
>> content using them is still conforming. (It may be these concerns  
>> can be addressed by changes to the proposal.)
>
> I recognize that debate pattern.  I can reply in kind.  :-)
>
> I can also name representatives of browser implementors other than  
> Microsoft which have expressed support for a mechanism similar to  
> XML namespaces in text/html.
>
> For now, I will simply name one: Brendan Eich.
>
> http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/roadmap/archives/2007/03/the_open_web_and_its_adversari.html

Nowhere in that blog post did I mentioned XML namespaces as necessary  
or sufficient for distributed extensibility.

We have a bit of negative experience with XML namespace usability in  
Mozilla:

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=307813

I'm on the record there, feel free to cite me. :-/

I do not understand why "distributed/decentralized extensibility" must  
== XML namespaces (I've heard this assertion from Hal Abelson). Can  
someone enlighten me?

It seems to me D.E. in general requires no central "gatekeeping"  
authority, certain kinds of "plugin APIs" in the content languages  
(including the markup languages, but not only the markup languages),  
and enough scripting capability for those would-be extenders to work  
around and enhance the compiled-in platform. Name collisions can be  
worked around given enough scriptability.

My "open web and its adversaries" post was arguing something that  
Flash and Silverlight fans dispute. They certainly have extensible  
platforms too, and no obvious gatekeepers (even if the stacks are more- 
or-less single-source). There are flash games with inserted ads and  
add-ons. But the compiled SWF world is still relatively closed-box  
compared to the "open-box" open-standards-based Web. Same goes for the  
CLR.

This is a matter of degree not kind from certain points of view. I  
think it's a difference in kind that the Web standards are not single- 
sourced. But opinions aside, all of this has nothing to do with XML  
namespaces.

I haven't followed the HTML5 list, so I'm still catching up. I reserve  
the right to say something positive about XML-namespace-based  
proposals. But right now I feel like my old blog post was pressed, nay  
dragooned, into service of a cause I do not support.

/be
Received on Tuesday, 6 October 2009 12:27:15 GMT

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