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Re: Please explain the role of the W3C in the continuing development of HTML

From: Karl Dubost <karl@la-grange.net>
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2011 10:41:30 +0100
Message-Id: <96407642-89C2-4C46-9EAA-B634657CEEEB@la-grange.net>
Cc: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, Jeffrey Jaff <jeff@w3.org>, www-archive <www-archive@w3.org>, Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
To: nathan@webr3.org
Nathan (and future readers)

Le 16 févr. 2011 à 01:31, Nathan a écrit :
> still follows an older (and much slower) "WD/LC/CR/PR/REC" model,

For the sake of context of future readers :)

Often forgotten, the W3C Process has not always been like this current one [1]. It has evolved because people where making comments about the previous process. It has an history[2]. 

For example, CR (Candidate Recommendations) [3] was introduced because people were complaining about the poor state of implementation of features. The idea was then to test the *implementability* of a feature in two different implementations. If a feature could be implemented twice, it had higher chances for interoperability. It has been a difficult battle to push Working Groups to do that at that time and publish CR implementations report. But it became slowly the normal routine. Looking at it now, it seems to be not enough or even not the most appropriate way to do. For some Working Groups or more exactly for some features, the implementation predates the specification. HTML is one case. 

The Process was tailored for version 1.0 of technologies and might not always been appropriate for largely deployed technologies.

Another aspects also from the past which is now rarely used by W3C Members is the Member Submission [4]. They are technical documents published for requesting comments, receiving feedbacks. For example the last one [5] was published 2 days ago by Microsoft to get feedback on the Web Tracking Protection[6] (Do Not Track feature). There are other works by Mozilla, and Google going on too. SVG was the result of 3 submissions which led to a workshop. I guess the community proposal might help to address work done by the community. 

PS: There are many more stories about the W3C Process. :) My recollection is personal and is strongly influenced by being part of the W3C staff as a conformance Manager from 2000 to 2008. 

[1]: http://www.w3.org/2001/02pd/rec54-img.png
[2]: If I had to do it in the future. I would keep an annotated version of the Process document linking to issues. Things which is missing for most of the spec. 
[3]: http://www.w3.org/2005/10/Process-20051014/tr.html#cfr
[4]: http://www.w3.org/Submission/
[5]: http://www.w3.org/Submission/2011/01/
[6]: http://www.w3.org/Submission/2011/SUBM-web-tracking-protection-20110224/

Karl Dubost
Montréal, QC, Canada
Received on Friday, 25 February 2011 09:41:53 UTC

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