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Re: The harm that can come if the W3C supports publication of competing specs

From: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>
Date: Sat, 16 Jan 2010 15:03:42 -0500
Message-ID: <4B521B9E.40107@mit.edu>
To: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
CC: HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
On 1/16/10 12:47 PM, Shelley Powers wrote:
> There is no room for competing specifications within the same
> standards organization.

There's no room for both XSLT and CSS in W3C?  There's no room for both 
SVG gradients and CSS gradient syntax in W3C?  There's no room for both 
SMIL and CSS Transitions or CSS Animations in W3C?  There's no room for 
both xml:id and id attributes in null namespaces attached to certain 
elements in W3C?  There's no room for both XLink and <html:a> in W3C?

Note that for some of these (gradients and xml:id come to mind, as does 
XLink) people have in the past argued that there is no room for both.  I 
happen to think they were right in some cases, wrong in others.  But all 
the above "competing specifications" in fact exist under the W3C 
umbrella right this second.

> Frankly, isn't this the reason why many people wanted the W3C to make
> a decision on HTML5 as compared to XHTML2? Because two competing works
> were causing confusion?

Maybe it's just me, but my personal take was that it really didn't 
matter what W3C did with XHTML2.  It was going nowhere, and hence didn't 
affect anything (other than perhaps W3C staff resources).  Again, my 
opinion.

> Folks here in this group criticized XHTML2 for disregarding the past,
> not being accountable for existing effort, for supporting something
> all new and supposedly markup pure. Now, we're doing the same for
> metadata, and Microdata.

The main issue with XHTML2 was that it was actively incompatible with 
XHTML1 and HTML (in the sense that you couldn't sanely implement both in 
the same UA).  Is Microdata in such a situation wrt RDFa?  I have to 
admit I've long since tuned out most of the discussion on both, since it 
seemed to be going nowhere.

I do think we should make it abundantly clear for ALL our FPWDs that 
they are NOT recommendations, NOT necessarily calls for implementation 
and NOT "standards".  This has been a major issue of confusion in the 
past with all sorts of half-baked W3C stuff, whether it competes with 
other W3C stuff or not.

-Boris
Received on Saturday, 16 January 2010 20:04:17 UTC

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