W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webplatform@w3.org > November 2012

Re: Creating API pages

From: Chris Mills <cmills@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 22 Nov 2012 08:48:33 +0000
Cc: Chris Mills <cmills@w3.org>, Julee Burdekin <julee@adobe.com>, public-webplatform@w3.org, Alex Komoroske <komoroske@google.com>
Message-Id: <DB567FD0-2D16-4E42-A18A-DE043EA2F3C0@w3.org>
To: Scott Rowe <scottrowe@google.com>
Great work - thanks Scott!

Chris Mills
Open standards evangelist, Opera Software
W3C fellow
Co-chair, web education community group, W3C

* Author of "Practical CSS3: Develop and Design"
  (http://my.opera.com/chrismills/blog/2012/07/12/practical-css3-my-book-is-finally-published)
* The definitive guide to developing with the webplatform:
  http://www.webplatform.org

On 20 Nov 2012, at 16:25, Scott Rowe <scottrowe@google.com> wrote:

> Yep.
> The New_Page page is up to date with example text and links, just like
> the Getting Started page which has a section that anticipates additional guides with a link to
> the Creating API Pages guide, where all of the above is captured, if not tamed.
> +SCott
> 
> 
> 
> On Tue, Nov 20, 2012 at 2:31 AM, Chris Mills <cmills@w3.org> wrote:
> This sounds pretty reasonable - thanks for sharing! Have you shared this information on any of the guideline pages yet?
> 
> Best,
> 
> Chris Mills
> Open standards evangelist, Opera Software
> W3C fellow
> Co-chair, web education community group, W3C
> 
> * Author of "Practical CSS3: Develop and Design"
>   (http://my.opera.com/chrismills/blog/2012/07/12/practical-css3-my-book-is-finally-published)
> * The definitive guide to developing with the webplatform:
>   http://www.webplatform.org
> 
> On 16 Nov 2012, at 18:36, Scott Rowe <scottrowe@google.com> wrote:
> 
> > Thanks Julee and Mike!
> >
> > I'm sure everyone appreciates your careful and considerate assessment of these issues and the work you did to vet our assumptions. I certainly do!
> >
> > And a big THANKS to everyone involved in this effort!!!
> >
> > So at this point I'd like to mix a metaphor and sew up this thread!
> >
> > I believe we have achieved our original goal: removing enough of the obstacles to creating API pages to be able to continue with the work on new APIs. To review our decisions:
> >
> > We will continue to maintain a separation between the apis and dom namespaces.
> >
> > Considerations for the dom namespace may be taken up in a separate thread.
> >
> > The organization of the apis namespace will be as follows:
> >
> > apis
> > apis/<apilist>
> > apis/<apilist>/<apiObject>/<event>
> > apis/<apilist>/<apiObject>/<method>
> > apis/<apilist>/<apiObject>/<property>
> >
> > Note: we are eliminating all intermediate pages and object type identification from the URL. For example:
> >
> > apis/webrtc/MediaStreamTrackList/length
> >
> > While we are reasonably confident that there will be no collisions, such as  a property and a method of the same name, we are resolved to deal with these by inserting identifying labels, for example:
> >
> > apis/myapi/myAPI/void-property
> > apis/myapi/myAPI/void-method
> >
> > Such identifiers, however, are the exception, not the rule.
> >
> > Considerations for artifacts such as constants and events may be taken up in a separate thread. For now, these may be simply described in the summary sections of those properties and methods to which they belong.
> >
> > Okay, time for me to get cracking on the WebRTC API!
> >
> > +Scott
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Nov 15, 2012 at 2:48 PM, Julee Burdekin <julee@adobe.com> wrote:
> > Just to close the loop on the section "Moving all apis under dom", that's not exactly what was was proposed. It was more that a unified system, derived from the root browser objects, would more accurately represent that we are documenting one (reference) browser interface of the web platform. And then separate pages would list out the bundles that constitute the individual feature specs.
> >
> > But my primary concern is that we provide one place where the user arrives and "gets it", where the architecture is self-evident to the end user, and manifests the environment against which the user is coding. And we can provide this experience other ways, such as:
> >
> > * top-level pages diagram where things are and explain how to use the different sections
> > * apilist pages call out the objects from which they are derived
> > * root object pages mention which apis are derived from them
> >
> > Wherever possible, we should explain the gaps and provide bridges. Given that, I'm OK with moving ahead on the structure worked on on the WPD:Creating_API_pages <http://docs.webplatform.org/wiki/WPD:Creating_API_pages> page.
> >
> > Regards.
> >
> > J
> > ----------------------------
> > julee@adobe.com
> > @adobejulee
> >
> >
> > From:  Scott Rowe <scottrowe@google.com>
> > Date:  Wednesday, November 14, 2012 3:12 PM
> > To:  "public-webplatform@w3.org" <public-webplatform@w3.org>, Alex Komoroske <komoroske@google.com>
> > Subject:  Re: Creating API pages
> > Resent-From:  <public-webplatform@w3.org>
> > Resent-Date:  Wednesday, November 14, 2012 3:13 PM
> >
> >
> > Thanks to everyone who particpated on the call today to discuss the proposal and the apis architecture. Ahead of meeting notes, I'd like to review some of the main points and revisit the issues that were not fully resolved at the end of the call. It's rather imperative that we be able to move forward with the documenting the APIs, and I think we've resolved enough of the issues to be able to move forward without having to do too much revising or reorganizing of our docs down the road.
> > Could everyone please take a moment to read this and respond? Thanks!
> >
> > apis architecture
> >
> > We decided to remove the "intermediate" pages (objects, events, methods, and properties) from the namespace to keep the URLs shorter and eliminate the need to fill these pages with queries or redirects. The new api namespace architecture is as follows:
> >
> > apis
> > apis/<apilist>
> > apis/<apilist>/<apiObject>/<foo-event>
> > apis/<apilist>/<apiObject>/<bar-method>
> > apis/<apilist>/<apiObject>/<baz-property>
> >
> > Note: further discussion about the <apilist> namespace identifier is further on, but assumed here to be maintained.
> >
> >
> > I will begin rewriting the proposal for this and reorganizing the webrtc docs.
> >
> > constants
> >
> > We discussed the possibility of providing for constants (enumerations) that are shared across several methods within an object. I spoke with our own Dimitri Glazkov about this. Turns out that an API may provide for the case where a property could use only part of the enumeration (values 1 and 2, but not 3) while another property would use all values (1, 2, and 3) of a given enumeration. Constants are defined for the object, so this scenario is quite common.
> >
> > Now the challenge is how to represent the valid constants for a particular property. We need a way to specify constants 1 and 2 (but not 3) for property A, and specify constants 1, 2, and 3 for property B. Probably the best way is to follow the same approach we take with events, methods, and properties pages and the "Applies to" field.
> >
> > So, each constant would have its own page, i.e. apis/<apilist>/<apiObject>/<FOO-constant> and the properties page would have a summary table listing each of the valid constants. The trick here would be to provide each <FOO-constant> page with multiple "Applies to" fields so that these could be shared.
> >
> > This needs some thought and design expertise. For now, let's just move forward with constants listed per property.
> >
> > exceptions
> >
> > We need to describe the exceptions for a method. Same re-use scenario as with constants. So apis/<apilist>/<apiObject>/<Bar-exception> and the ability to "Applies to" to different methods. Note that often API methods use DOM exceptions, so this template needs to work for both dom and apis. Could get kind of hairy with multiple "Applies to" fields.
> >
> > Needs some thought and design expertise, too. For now, let's just move forward with exceptions listed per method.
> >
> > Move all apis under dom
> >
> > It was suggested that all of the api pages could be moved under the dom namespace.
> >
> > Early on we decided to keep the dom namespace separate from the apis namespace. The "non-dom" apis are more clearly defined on their own, and fitting them within the dom does not add any value. While it is true that most of the time an API is accessed within the context of a dom object, i.e. navigator.getUserMedia() or  window.indexedDB.open(), usually this context is only necessary to create the initial object, i.e. a LocalMediaStream object or an IDBOpenDBRequest object. That much is adequately covered in the documentation and needn't be spelled out in the URLs. And, as was pointed out in the call, our purpose is not to mimic the document object model in our URLs, but to provide for location and navigation. Furthermore, nesting everything under a DOM object page makes the URL longer.
> >
> >
> > API Listing pages
> >
> > It was suggested that we remove the API Listing pages from the apis namespace. I strongly urge us not to do so.
> >
> > The API listing pages describe the API by its common names - the names by which users search for information about the API. It provides for find-ability where an API has multiple "listing names" - as is the case with the WebRTC API which is further sub-divided into the MediaStream, PeerConnection, and DataChannel APIs. These need to be included as sub-headings in the listing page to fully describe the API.
> >
> > The API listing pages provide an overview of how to use the API objects included in the specification. The best place to do this is within the apis namespace, rather than a "concepts" or "guides" or other namespace.
> >
> > The API listing pages provide for disambiguation between like-named API objects. Consider two objects:
> >
> > * The MediaStreamAudioSourceNode object from the Web Audio API
> > * The MediaStream object from the WebRTC API
> >
> > In fact, both of these are the same thing, as creating a MediaStreamAudioSourceNode is simply passing to that object an object of type MediaStream:
> >
> >
> > MediaStreamAudioSourceNode createMediaStreamSource ( MediaStream mediaStream );
> >
> > If our URLs read, apis/MediaStreamAudioSourceNode and /apis/MediaStream without any context to differentiate them, users are likely to get confused.
> >
> >
> > Action Item: Proving out the apis architecture
> >
> > I'm concerned that there may have been a miscommunication about the action item captured at the end of the meeting. This happened while the meeting was adjourning, and may have been misconstrued. Here's the snippet from the IRC channel:
> >
> > 9:57 AM <sierra_> TASK: someone sanity-check how actual APIs would work
> > 9:59 AM <sierra_> in apis/<apilist>/objects/<apiObject>/properties , go to apis/APIobject/properties
> > 10:00 AM <sierra_> sorry, apis/APIobject
> >
> >
> > What I heard was that the action item is to review the apis namespace to see if there would be collisions between api objects without the intervening <apilist> object. First, it is unlikely that within our very limited apis namespace that this will happen (we currently have some 8 or 9 APIs, not counting DOM APIs); second, we can never fully prove the lack of collisions because we don't have time to review the entire set of standard APIs - and we certainly can't vet the ones that haven't been created yet.
> >
> > Perhaps someone could fill in here why this exercise is necessary and what it hopes to prove?
> >
> > Would it not be more efficacious to simply proceed with maintaining the <apilist> namespace identifier - as in apis/<apilist>/<apiObject>/<etc.>?
> >
> > Thanks for helping out here!
> >
> > +Scott
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Tue, Nov 13, 2012 at 12:23 PM, PhistucK <phistuck@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > I am planning on adding fields for constants within the API Object template/form. It might take a few days, though. I hope to work on it on Friday or Saturday.
> >
> > ☆PhistucK
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Tue, Nov 13, 2012 at 9:06 PM, David Gash <dgash@google.com> wrote:
> >
> > Scott,For tomorrow's call, apart from the basic issue of the API content architecture, let's discuss the web audio list before I set off creating ~150 pages. Also, I have a few questions about certain parts of the interface that you (or someone else) may be able to answer, below. The numbers refer to the W3C spec <https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/audio/raw-file/tip/webaudio/specification.html>, and are linked to the specific sections for easy reference.
> >
> > 4.3 <https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/audio/raw-file/tip/webaudio/specification.html#AudioSourceNode> AudioSourceNode
> > Listed as an "abstract" interface, has no documented properties or methods.
> >
> > 4.11 <https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/audio/raw-file/tip/webaudio/specification.html#MediaElementAudioSourceNode> MediaElementAudioSourceNode
> > Created in an Audiocontext, has no documented properties or methods.
> >
> > 4.14.1 <https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/audio/raw-file/tip/webaudio/specification.html#PannerNode-sub> PannerNode Constants
> > There's no API structure/path for constants.
> >
> > 4.18 <https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/audio/raw-file/tip/webaudio/specification.html#ChannelSplitterNode> ChannelSplitterNode and
> > 4.19 <https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/audio/raw-file/tip/webaudio/specification.html#ChannelMergerNode> ChannelMergerNode
> > Also have no documented properties or methods.
> >
> >
> > 4.24 <https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/audio/raw-file/tip/webaudio/specification.html#WaveTable> WaveTable and
> > 4.25 <https://dvcs.w3.org/hg/audio/raw-file/tip/webaudio/specification.html#MediaStreamAudioSourceNode> MediaStreamAudioSourceNode
> > Also have no documented properties or methods.
> >
> >
> > I'm not sure whether to create pages for the objects with no properties or methods, and whether to document the PannerNode constants as properties or... something else. Any input appreciated.
> >
> > Dave
> >
> >
> >
> > On Mon, Nov 12, 2012 <tel:2012> at 12:06 PM, Scott Rowe <scottrowe@google.com> wrote:
> >
> > Thanks Dave! Be sure to share any issues you encounter on this thread.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > +Scott
> >
> >
> >
> > On Mon, Nov 12, 2012 <tel:2012> at 11:16 AM, David Gash <dgash@google.com> wrote:
> >
> > Scott / all,
> > I'm starting to document the web audio API. Based on Scott's proposal doc and the W3C specs, the first few topics' URLs will be structured thus:
> >
> > apis/webaudio
> >
> > apis/webaudio/objects/AudioContext/properties/destination
> >
> > apis/webaudio/objects/AudioContext/properties/sampleRate
> > apis/webaudio/objects/AudioContext/properties/currentTime
> > apis/webaudio/objects/AudioContext/properties/listener
> > apis/webaudio/objects/AudioContext/properties/activeSourceCount
> > apis/webaudio/objects/AudioContext/methods/createBuffer
> > apis/webaudio/objects/AudioContext/methods/decodeAudioData
> > apis/webaudio/objects/AudioContext/methods/createBufferSource
> > apis/webaudio/objects/AudioContext/methods/. . . etc.
> >
> > apis/webaudio/objects/AudioNode/properties/context
> > apis/webaudio/objects/AudioNode/properties/numberOfInputs
> > apis/webaudio/objects/AudioNode/properties/numberOfOutputs
> > apis/webaudio/objects/AudioNode/methods/connect
> > apis/webaudio/objects/AudioNode/methods/disconnect
> >
> > apis/webaudio/objects/. . . etc.
> >
> > There are a lot more objects, properties, and methods in this API, of course, but Scott has reviewed this plan and, barring any objections, that's the path structure I'll be following.
> >
> > I plan to outline the entire set before creating any pages, then create all the stubs, then go back and fill in.
> >
> > Cheers,
> > Dave
> >
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Nov 8, 2012 <tel:2012> at 12:03 PM, Scott Rowe <scottrowe@google.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> > When I sat down to document the process for creating API pages, using the WebRTC documentation as the poster child, I found more questions than answers. I realized that we did not have a good story here, so I did my best to fill in the holes with a methodology that attempts to solve the problems I found.
> > You find this methodology described in WPD:Creating_API_pages <http://docs.webplatform.org/wiki/WPD:Creating_API_pages>.
> >
> > Note that it started out as a how-to for contributors, but quickly became a proposal. So parts of it will read either way. Don't be alarmed. The purpose of the document is to provide you with a methodology to try on as you do what I did - test it out with your own API pages.
> >
> > As you do, please don't update the methodology in that page - let's discuss it first. We can use this thread for the discussion.
> >
> > Thanks for your help!
> >
> > +Scott
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Received on Thursday, 22 November 2012 08:48:53 UTC

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