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Re: Seeking feedback on a new WG to specify APIs for device services

From: Arun Ranganathan <arun@mozilla.com>
Date: Fri, 01 May 2009 13:44:11 -0700
Message-ID: <49FB5F1B.5070306@mozilla.com>
To: Arthur Barstow <art.barstow@nokia.com>
CC: w3c-ac-forum <w3c-ac-forum@w3.org>, public-device-apis@w3.org, Doug Turner <dougt@mozilla.com>, "L. David Baron" <dbaron@mozilla.com>, Philippe Le Hegaret <plh@w3.org>, Thomas Roessler <tlr@w3.org>
Arthur Barstow wrote:
> AC Reps - this is a heads up that, based on the results of last 
> December's Workshop related to Security and Device APIs [1], we 
> proposed a new WG to create specifications regarding APIs for device 
> services (list of specific APIs is below):
>  <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-device-apis/2009Apr/0001.html> 
> I am interested in any comments you have via w3c-ac-forum or on the 
> public-device-apis mail list.
Mozilla submitted a paper to the workshop that seems to have ultimately 
spawned this WG proposal [2], and is pleased to see follow-up.  However, 
a few questions/observations should be raised.

1. While we welcome Nokia's "straw person" proposals as starting points 
(and the royalty-free declarations on patents that accompany the straw 
persons), we continue to be uncomfortable that a _new_ WG is coined for 
the purpose of creating APIs exposed to scripting contexts on the web.  
We expressed unease when Geolocation was moved from Web Apps to a 
separate WG.  If WG bloat is a consideration, then what guarantee is 
there that a "Device API WG" won't bloat, with more "concrete" APIs 
getting introduced over time?  Furthermore, discussion of security 
should occur in the context of the work being done, and not as a "pull 
out" activity.  I'd like a good explanation for why a brand new WG is 
necessary.  At Mozilla, we don't see "special case" APIs as only being 
fit for certain classes of devices, but for the web as a whole on 
multiple devices.  What rationale is provided for the creation of a new WG?

2. Again, while we have concern that a new WG is required, we also have 
concern that charter approvals for extensions to an existing activity's 
scope take far too long.  In practice, I have not seen evidence that 
proposing new topics for exploration within a healthy space (such as Web 
Apps) works efficiently.  This is distressing to see; I'd like 
commentary about why this is, and what can be done to expedite this.  I 
am particularly concerned that it may prove faster to coin a new WG than 
approve a charter amendment to an existing WG.  Why is this?

3. In general, this activity leaves security as a consideration for 
implementations, or at least as fodder for _yet_another_working_group_ 
that may look at security implications.  There is merit in a security 
discussion; in fact, I'd rather see a WG for security discussions 
alongside efficient charter amendments to the Web Apps WG.  Even this 
isn't ideal, since it would seem that security may best be served by 
those designing individual APIs (at least where implementations converge 
on a set of principles).
> -Regards, Art Barstow
> [1] <http://www.w3.org/2008/security-ws/report#Concrete>
[2] http://www.w3.org/2008/security-ws/papers/mozilla.html
-- A*
Received on Friday, 1 May 2009 20:45:18 UTC

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