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Re: help navigating your HTML spec text objection?

From: John Boyer <boyerj@ca.ibm.com>
Date: Wed, 2 May 2007 23:12:18 -0700
To: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Cc: Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>, www-archive@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF66D4D553.3F0E4F20-ON882572D0.001E9C44-882572D0.002216A2@ca.ibm.com>
Hi Dan,

To answer your question:

"For the record, how would you do the above in XForms? "

in http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2007Apr/1720.html

I spent a number of hours on the IRC today with hixie, maciej, anne and 
the crew.  It was excruciatingly fun.

Before putting my foot in it, let me preface by saying once again that 
there are some good features in WF2; in fact, a number were discussed 
within the forms wg even before the what wg did its business, and what we 
lacked were people to do the work part, so I *really* wish they had just 
joined the wg.  And again, I can see where the issue of tag soup became a 
blocking point on the html side, so it's water under the bridge.

Anway, from the discussion I did also get a better idea of why WF2 
deviated from XForms in some ways that look at first glance a little 
harder reconcile, e.g. things like the repeat structure being quite 
different.  They seem to be absolutely bent on optimizing backwards 
compatibility even when it makes no sense to do so.  Back comp I get, but 
the claim is that new features must be added only with old tags so that 
html4 browsers can "degrade gracefully".  But this doesn't make any sense 
when adding a feature like a repeating table because it just isn't going 
to behaviorally work at all in the old browser.  It's hard to see why we 
can't add new tags for new features, and esp. making those new tags look a 
bit more like the ones in the existing w3c rec for forms when it makes 
sense to do so.

I spent a great deal of time dialoging on IRC [1] and [2] and at least it 
wasn't a complete disaster.  It is worthwhile for you and Chris to have a 
look at the minutes as it will further clarify where I'm coming from.

[1] http://www.w3.org/2007/05/02-html-wg-minutes.html
[2] http://www.w3.org/2007/05/03-html-wg-minutes.html

My main issue is that I cannot be the task force, nor can I be the Forms 
WG part of the task force.  So I can't do the work of the task force in 
order to justify why the task force needs to do the technical work.  The 
proposal you put to vote was premature and it shouldn't have been put to 
vote just because somebody proposed it because the proposal appears to run 
counter to both the statements and intent of the charters by preempting 
the technical work of the task force.   By starting with a pre-baked 
technical solution, there will be no real room to compromise once it is 
taken as THE base of the work.  Everyone talks a good game, but every move 
will have to be supported with some justification for why we should change 
it from what is already in WF2, rather than having an equal amount of 
asking why did WF2 change this from XForms.  The only way to reach real 
compromise is to put everyone on an equal footing  by staring with empty 
document and coming to terms on the requirements (in particular it seems 
like there is at least one requirement listed above that seems a bit 
contentious and will dramatically affect lots of technical decisions).

A lot of people are unclear about what the two working groups have been 
chartered to do, and they continue to only read and spout off the one or 
two bits of this or that which best support their point of view, and 
ignore or throw out the rest by adopting a very loose definition of "work 
with each other".  It's our job to guide everyone to the point of at least 
trying to work together.

But it's not my job to do all the technical work in advance.  Maciej 
complained today that my "objection" should be ignored because it doesn't 
cite technical reasons.  But that's because the vote is not being taken on 
a technical issue.  It is being taken on a process issue (should we 
preempt the work of the task force), and so my answer cited technical 
issues about the process.

A major problem we face here is that the folks who are doing this would 
like every rule in the W3C process to be bent for them when it is 
convenient, but when it suits, they want the letter of the law to hold. 
It's pretty frustrating because the W3C process document is ill-equipped 
to handle this kind of working group.  It is new, so there are going to be 
cases where analogies have to be made.  The process document is primarily 
focused on WG members objecting to technical decisions made by vote, not 
process decisions.  So when a vote happens about a process issue, it is a 
justifiable "technical" reason to object on the basis that the proposed 
process runs counter to the spirit of the working group charters.

I hope all of this helps at least clarify why my vote went the way it did. 
 I do sincerely hope that the chairs and/or the director are able to find 
a way to support this objection for now in the interest of getting the 
groups to really work together.  If not, I really fear this collaboration 
will die before anyone gets a chance to even try a compromise, which is 
not at all what standards development is about.

John M. Boyer, Ph.D.
STSM: Lotus Forms Architect and Researcher
Chair, W3C Forms Working Group
Workplace, Portal and Collaboration Software
IBM Victoria Software Lab
E-Mail: boyerj@ca.ibm.com 

Blog: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/JohnBoyer

Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org> 
05/02/2007 07:09 PM

John Boyer/CanWest/IBM@IBMCA
www-archive@w3.org, Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>
help navigating your HTML spec text objection?

John, your objection includes...

"... one of the XForms opponents even asked recently how a particular
simple WF2 form would be written in XForms, so the objections are not
even based on firm knowledge of XForms but rather on having developed
 -- http://www.w3.org/2002/09/wbs/40318/htmlbg/results

I'd appreciate a pointer to that message.

Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
D3C2 887B 0F92 6005 C541  0875 0F91 96DE 6E52 C29E
Received on Thursday, 3 May 2007 06:12:27 UTC

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