Re: About the Web Forms 2 proposal

Hi Sebastian,

On Apr 28, 2007, at 5:22 AM, Sebastian Schnitzenbaumer wrote:

> Maciej Stachowiak schrieb:
>> In conclusion, based on my experience working with web developers  
>> at Apple and elsewhere, I see no evidence of your claim that  
>> delcarative features are important to website owners. I will admit  
>> I could just be talking to the wrong website owners, but I have  
>> talked to the ones you cited specifically.
> I think this is the heart of the debate, and I am somewhat glad we  
> are getting to this point.
> Obviously, we disagree. XML would be a failure if declarative  
> features would not be important to website owners.

I think it's overly harsh to call XML a failure. While its true that  
quite a bit less than 1% of resources on the public web are in XML  
formats, XML still has many valuable niche uses.

> Regardless of whether we agree or not, please recall that a certain  
> amount of W3C members consider the endless co-existence of an  
> imperative HTML world together with a declarative XML world as  
> suboptimal and would like to see a them grow together over time.

HTML is no more inherently imperative than XML. JavaScript is  
imperative, and can be used with HTML and many XML technologies.  
XHTML, SVG, XPath and XSLT are among the more popular ones to use  
with JavaScript, besides just plain XML. Is that the kind of thing  
you have in mind?

> This is what Dave, myself and others are trying to do. OTOH, Ian,  
> Anne, yourself and others do not see them growing together over  
> time as a goal, and are fine for HTML5 and subsequent versions to  
> diverge from the rest of the more declarative XML stack of the W3C  
> forever.

My goals personally, and Apple's goals, are for useful technologies  
to function well, be improved on their own merits, and work together  
when combined. I don't know how "grow together" or "diverge" play  
into this. If "grow together" means that technologies with extremely  
wide adoption should be changed to be more like ones with far less  
adoption, then I guess I'm not in favor of it.

More generally, I think declarative features are useful for capturing  
the common cases of behavior. They can often make simple things easy.  
Regrettably, they also often make complex things impossible or  
extremely difficult. So scripting is still needed. When augmenting  
scripting APIs with declarative markup for the common cases, it's  
important to think about how wide a range of uses you can cover  
without making things harder than scripting would have been. It's  
never going to be 100%, but if you can hit 80%, you are doing pretty  

To get back to the specific example of forms, a lot of forms today  
don't use any scripting. Some use quite fancy scripting which is  
unlikely to be replaceable by anything declarative. I'd like to see  
some info on how large the category in between is, the category of  
forms that do use script but could be reasonably redone without it  
with expression language features. My gut feeling is that it's not  
that big - the forms that do use scripting tend to be very concerned  
with exact details of the user experience. But I'm willing to be  
proven wrong.


Received on Saturday, 28 April 2007 13:14:14 UTC