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The HTML5 project is a joint effort between the W3C and the WHATWG

From: Dean Edridge <dean@dean.org.nz>
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2008 06:05:11 +1300
To: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>
Cc: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, www-archive <www-archive@w3.org>
Message-id: <49283BC7.5040001@dean.org.nz>

Julian Reschke wrote:
> Dean Edridge wrote:
>> So the people in the HTML WG are the only ones contributing to HTML5 
>> then?
> Not necessarily.

> But if the W3C HTML WG can't decide about what's in an W3C spec and 
> what's not, why do we have it in the first place?

HTML5 is a joint project between the W3C and the WHATWG, so it's not 
quite as simple as that. You can't say: now, you guys at the W3C, you 
can edit the top half of the spec and the WHATWG folk, they can edit the 
bottom half and we'll split everything 50/50. I think you're being 
idealistic and puristic. Have you got some better ideas on how we could 
do this? I mean, how do you expect it to be developed Julian? It's a 
different case than other specs developed at the W3C because it's a 

The WHATWG can't decide what's in a WHATWG or W3C spec either, 
ideas/features get added (or don't get added) to the spec based on 
what's best for HTML5 and the Open Web platform. Ian has said many times 
that there's things in the spec that he himself doesn't like but he has 
had to put them in as there were good sound arguments for them, which 
proves that he's not just throwing in his favourite ideas and having 
things his way. Someone has to actually log in and physically edit the 
spec, and it happens to be Ian. This is all done in public with a 
commits-tracker web page plus several mailing lists listing the 


I follow these lists and read every change, I have not yet seen any 
changes that have given me reason for concern. If I did, I'd just email 
public-html and discuss it there.

Plus, I'm sure you are aware of the two IRC channels where people 
discuss the HTML5, I've seen you on at least one of them:

Everything is done out in the open, there's no secret deals done behind 
closed doors. Ian wont even discuss things with people privately as he 
insists on having a public account of everything (ie. cc www-archive), 
he's made this quite clear to me in the past.

> If the only desire is to slap a W3C label on something that is 
> somebody else's activity, we should be clear about it.

It is most certainly not "somebody else's activity" and that most 
certainly is *not* the desire. Just have a look at how the HTML WG has 
coordinated with the MathML WG and the SVG WG, input came from those 
groups through the HTML WG into the spec. There has been considerable 
input in to the spec from the HTML WG, it is not just a WHATWG project. 
There is absolutely no justification for saying that it is "someone 
else's activity" Julian. Just because Ian happens to be one of the nine 
core members for the WHATWG, doesn't mean he favours feedback received 
through the WHATWG mailing list. Ian takes in feedback from both the 
groups, from all sorts of people including various mailing lists and 
blogs and edits the spec based the merits of that feedback, not by who 
has sent it. So your suggestion that the spec is a WHATWG spec waiting 
to have a W3C badge thrown on the front of it is unfounded.

It was you that asked/demanded that we have a special doctype for XSLT 
generated HTML5. There were *lots of objections* to that, myself and 
many other people strongly lobbied on public-html for HTML5 not to have 
a special case doctype for XSLT generated software as having just the 
one doctype was a strong (unwritten) design principal. Now, let me 
think, what was the outcome of that?... That's right, based on your 
sound arguments Ian did see that it was needed and added a special 
doctype to the spec even though there were lots of objections. Now IMO, 
if we had had a vote on that, I don't think the HTML WG would have gone 
for a XSLT-compat doctype, so you're idea of "consensus will save us" 
would have failed you there. As it happens that incident proved that Ian 
does add features to the spec if there are strong arguments for them (as 
there was) even though he sometimes doesn't like them himself and they 
are unpopular.

If you are really unhappy with the present situation then I challenge 
you to make a list and send it to the www-archive and you can discuss it 
with Ian, the chairs, or whoever you wish to (me even).

Remember, it was me that publicly criticised the process and the way 
that Ian was editing the spec. I said to Ian privately that I wanted him 
to prove me wrong, and over the past year he has done that. I have 
confidence in the way that he edits the spec and the way that he is not 
biased on what feedback he adds to it. I wouldn't have changed my 
opinion on this matter without careful consideration.

Have you ever heard the saying: The grass is always greener on the other 
side of the fence? It's very easy to think that if this or that changed 
everything would be perfect. :)

Dean Edridge
Received on Saturday, 22 November 2008 17:05:48 UTC

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