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Re: data-* attributes [was: Re: ISSUE-41/ACTION-97 decentralized-extensibility]

From: Aryeh Gregor <Simetrical+w3c@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2009 19:02:41 -0400
Message-ID: <7c2a12e20910191602k627fd781me1679f2dd0df091a@mail.gmail.com>
To: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
Cc: "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
On Mon, Oct 19, 2009 at 2:27 PM, Leif Halvard Silli
<xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no> wrote:
> It seems to me to be on the edge of what @data-*'s specified purpose to
> distribute a software package that requires that you use a specific and - to
> use Aryeh' wording - "non-standard" attribute.

The use of non-standard attributes is okay as long as the tools needed
to process them are provided along with the document in a standard
format (say in a JavaScript library).  That way, the document as a
whole (including any libraries, etc.) can be processed using purely
standard tools.  This gives all the benefits of standardization:
competition between vendors resulting in better product quality,
support on all platforms and not just those that one vendor happens to
like, etc.  HTML5 allows the creation of data-* attributes to cover
this kind of use-case.

On the other hand, if the library requires nonstandard technologies
like Flash or Silverlight, everyone who wants to use it is forced to
use a specific program controlled by a single vendor.  This means that
the document will only work on the platforms that vendor chooses to
support; might require payment of some kind to use now or in the
future; and might stop working entirely if the vendor goes out of
business.  Moreover, the tool is more likely to be poor quality
because of lack of competition.

So in other words, data-* is "nonstandard" in the same sense as the
actual contents of your page are nonstandard -- technically it is, of
course, but it's not what standardization is supposed to be targeted
at in the first place.  As long as the document as a whole can be
processed based purely on standards, there's probably no problem.  Of
course, there are oodles of extremely debatable corner cases, if you
want to be creative, but I hope you get the gist of the distinction
I'm making here.

> It ought in my view to be
> good practice offer a simple way to change the name of the data-* attribute
> when it is included in distributions. It also seems like a good practice to
> recommend the use of an extra prefix, such as you suggested: data-svgweb-*.

This seems like a good suggestion to have in the spec.
Received on Monday, 19 October 2009 23:03:16 UTC

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