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Re: The future of HTML - enlighten me?

From: Aryeh Gregor <Simetrical+w3c@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 3 Nov 2009 14:54:01 -0500
Message-ID: <7c2a12e20911031154s139b89dfv6c01d6403114596b@mail.gmail.com>
To: Dustin Boyd <rpgfan3233@gmail.com>
Cc: www-html@w3.org
On Tue, Nov 3, 2009 at 9:45 AM, Dustin Boyd <rpgfan3233@gmail.com> wrote:
> XHTML 2.0 is no longer being developed and the decision has been made
> to support HTML 5, which has an XML serialisation.  With HTML 4.x, XHTML
> 1.x and even through some of the various drafts of XHTML 2.0, I was
> able to take in the information and use the various elements and
> attributes.  With HTML 5, it's simply too large.  I realise that XHTML
> 2.0 was moving too slowly, but the simplicity made it rather nice.
> HTML 5 on the other hand appears to be going the way of a programming
> API, where you need a constant reference, reducing the usefulness.

One of the major goals of HTML5 is to support complex web
applications.  The spec was originally named Web Applications 1.0, in
fact.  It does have plenty of nice new features for regular authors
too, though, like <video>/<audio>, and better specification of
existing functionality to improve interoperability.  Also (arguably)
the fact that you can use non-XML syntax is good for authors, although
of course some people think XML is better.

> Honestly, a lot of features are being asked for, but how many of those
> requested features will be used enough to warrant their additions in
> practice?

All of them.  Otherwise they wouldn't have been added.  However, there
are a bunch that are only relevant to scripted pages, of course.

> I know the same argument about HTML 5 being "bloated" has been made
> before, and I also know that alternatives deemed as being "viable" are
> rarely made.  However, it needs to be cut down somehow.  It's too
> complex to be considered practical.

Some features have been split out into separate specifications (e.g.,
Web Storage), and more might be in the future.  The spec is definitely
too complicated for the average author to understand completely, of
course, but the large majority of authors don't have to read the spec
itself.  Also, it becomes much shorter if you use the whatwg.org
version and click "Hide UA text".

> At this point, removing features
> seems to be a ridiculous idea.  Starting from scratch isn't very
> appealing either.  If features were to be removed, how would anybody
> decide which features to omit?  It seems as if several elements and
> attributes are intertwined with others.  This makes the prospect of
> removing features seems rather implausible.

Thankfully, we have a talented, hard-working editor who's willing to
put in the work to do stuff like split things out into separate specs.

> Oh, and while I like the idea of the CANVAS element, does such a thing
> really belong in a markup language used for conveying information?

HTML5 is not only for conveying information, it's also meant to help
web apps.  Only a subset of it is useful for traditional static web
pages.  Splitting out most of <canvas> into a separate specification
is being considered, last I heard.  FWIW, I'm pretty sure <canvas> is
its own element rather than <object>-based or such because it was
originally reverse-engineered from a WebKit-specific element, and the
WebKit developers chose to call it <canvas> rather than using

> Is there going to be another Dark
> Age for the Web?  HTML 4's strict definition made an effort to remove
> the things that created the first Dark Age, things like FONT elements
> and other presentational items as well as inaccessible items like
> FRAMESETs.  In my opinion, HTML 5 as a whole is a regression rather
> than a natural progression.

HTML5 goes further than HTML4, and makes <font> and <frameset>
completely non-conforming.  What about it do you think might lead to a
Dark Age?
Received on Tuesday, 3 November 2009 19:54:34 UTC

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