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1st public HTML5 draft to be published sooner, rather than later (February 2008)

From: Gregory J. Rosmaita <oedipus@hicom.net>
Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2007 05:30:48 +0000
To: wai-liaison@w3.org, wai-xtech@w3.org
Message-Id: <20071219052202.M84668@hicom.net>


HTML5 has a deadline for publication - February 26, 2008 (or earlier) --
for details, please refer to (the HTML WG co-chair) DanC's post to 
public-html, archived at:


ian hickson (hixie) -- (co-) editor of HTML5 responded to DanC (a.k.a. 
dan connolly) in a post archived at:


in which he (hixie) cites his own response to the "no" and "formal 
objection" votes from the latest WG vote on what to issue and when to 
issue it:


in which my objection (which i have been making from the beginning), was 
rejected by hixie out-of-hand, as illustrated by the following:

| i am also concerned by other respondents' suggestion that the WHAT
| WG's recently published (26 October 2007) quote stable version
| unquote of the spec [3] be adopted wholesale by the HTML WG. while
| the WHAT WG is free to do what it wants, i -- and others -- have
| repeatedly asked that the W3C draft reflect the input of the HTML
| WG, not input to the WHAT WG -- if WHAT WG members want to comment
| on the W3C Draft, they should feel free to do so, but it is madness
| to have 2 competing drafts, especially one that is revised outside
| of W3C space and simply ported to W3C space based on revisions to
| which the HTML WG has little knowledge. the WHAT WG's draft does NOT
| reflect the consensus of the HTML WG and should not be imposed on
| the HTML WG.  therefore, i am objecting to the release of the HTML5
| Working Draft UNTIL such time as the editors and chairs acknowledge
| that there is only 1 draft of HTML5 that reflects (or is supposed to
| reflect) the work of the HTML WG so far. until the parallel
| development of the HTML5 draft is considered just another suggestion
| stream, rather than a call for consensus on a fait accompli, i will
| continue to vote against the release of the HTML5 working draft as a
| W3C draft, until there is but one draft from which EVERYONE, within
| and without the W3C, can work with the assurance that the issues
| they raise and the suggestions they make are based upon a single
| iteration of HTML5. feedback is, indeed, critical, but only if that
| feedback is shared with the HTML WG and informs the content of the
| document identified as a W3C working draft.
| until the issue of the competing drafts is resolved, i cannot
| support release of the HTML5 draft. i am voting "no" rather than
| "formally objecting" because i trust the chairs and the Hypertext
| Coordination Group/Team to clarify the issue of parallel tracking
| and duplication of efforts once and for all before the end of the
| year, and i am not convinced that the best way to achieve that end
| is to formally object to the release of the W3C working draft of
| HTML5 -- i am convinced, however, that if the status quo persists,
| the HTML WG will never reach consensus, and that the number of
| formal objections lodged in straw polls and in posts to the chairs,
| editors, and list will grow exponentially.
| [3] http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/2007-10-26/multipage/

The one decision that the HTML WG _has_ made up to this point was to 
adopt the WHAT WG draft wholesale, so it seems that this objection is 
ill-timed. It's not clear what the alternative would be at this point. 
If the chairs agree with Gregory on this point, then it would be good 
to know soon, since it fundamentally affects how the working group 
proceeds. If the chairs do not agree with Gregory on this point, then 
it doesn't affect FPWD publication.

aside from the obvious problems posed by what i described in my quoted
comments when voting, the big red flashing siren is that the HTML5 draft 
will be issued without several of the elements and attributes added to 
HTML4x specifically for accessibility without superior or at least 
equivalent mechanisms/strategies being advanced in their place...

i'd also strongly recommend that you all read hixie's entire post, which 
i quoted directly above...

the question being asked of the chairs (the other chair is chris wilson, 
of microsoft, whom some of you may know) is "why not publish sooner?"

an example is the following quote from a post by maciej stachowiak, of 

More seriously... I think February 26 is a fine deadline. Like Ian,  
Lachlan and others, I'd like to know what the remaining obstacles are  
to publishing by this deadline, or ahead of it as encouraged by the  

to which DanC replied:

I think we're in pretty good shape to publish, except that our
team contact is going on holiday tomorrow for a couple weeks.

I was thinking about putting the question in early January
and seeing what kind of responses we get, but I can't think
of any specific reason not to do it sooner; I'm sure I can
get somebody to fill in for Mike for the couple days that
it takes to coordinate publication.

so the question facing the WAI is, is the WAI ready for HTML5 to be 
published?  what do we need to do in response to the issuance of a 
working draft that -- whilst adding elements of merit, such as the 
ASIDE and DIALOG elements and the "required" attribute -- does not hold
alt to be a required attribute of IMG and/or its replacements?  what 
about a draft that includes verbiage such as:

There has been some suggestion that the longdesc attribute from HTML4, 
or some other mechanism that is more powerful than alt="", should be 
included. This has not yet been considered. 

especially when the issue HAS been the subject of considerable 
consideration within the HTML WG...



     same resource at: <http://tinyurl.com/235rmz>

and even:

in any event, it's time for us individually and collectively to take a 
long hard look at:


and discuss what steps need to be taken to (a) preserve the accessibility
advances introduced into HTML4x and (b) propose equivalent or superior 
mechanisms, because the burden, like it or not, has been squarely placed
on our shoulders to do so...

I must think myself independent, as long as I live; the feeling is 
essential to my existence.                           -- John Adams
    Gregory J. Rosmaita: oedipus@hicom.net or gregory@ubats.org
         Camera Obscura: http://www.hicom.net/~oedipus/
Oedipus' Online Complex: http://my.opera.com/oedipus/
UBATS - United Blind Advocates for Talking Signs: http://ubats.org
Received on Wednesday, 19 December 2007 05:30:59 UTC

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