W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > August 2007

Multipage version of spec

From: Ben 'Cerbera' Millard <cerbera@projectcerbera.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2007 10:59:05 +0100
Message-ID: <003c01c7dd90$97f651c0$0201a8c0@ben9xr3up2lv7v>
To: "Sander Tekelenburg" <st@isoc.nl>, "Ian Hickson" <ian@hixie.ch>, "Karl Dubost" <karl@w3.org>
Cc: "HTMLWG" <public-html@w3.org>

Sander Tekelenburg wrote:
> The multipage version works much better:
> <http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/section-sections.html#the-address>.
> Is it not possible to move the multi-page version to the W3C domain? (And
> hope that more people will refer to it, instead of to the current browser
> killer?)

I echo this request. A specification which is less usable is likely to be 
less used. I find the multipage HTML5 easier and more convenient to use.

Some large W3C specs use one or just a few pages, such as [XML], [WCAG1] and 
[WCAG2]. Others are spread over several pages where each page contains one 
major section or module, such as [HTML4], [MathML], [CSS3]. So there is a 
precedent for either approach at W3C.

Myself and other "standards aware" authors often refer to specific features 
of HTML and CSS. We typically use:

* Index of HTML [Elements] to find the closest semantic match to what we are 
marking up.
* Index of HTML [Attributes] to check spelling; check enumerated values; 
find ways to add extra functionality to elements; and check how features are 
supposed to work.
* CSS [Properties] list to check spelling; find the right value for 
enumerated attributes; read the specified behaviour of a property to check 
if a problem is with our code or in the browser; as well as looking for 
alternative techniques when browsers don't support what we want.

The HTML5 multipage version starts with a full [ToC] without downloading the 
entire spec. This makes navigation within the document convenient, much like 
the indices I have liste.

In day-to-day authoring, a usable spec makes it a simpler and more pleasant 
task to double-check technical details.

[XML] <http://www.w3.org/TR/xml/#contents>
[WCAG1] <http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT/#toc>
[WCAG2] <http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#contents>
[HTML4] <http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/#minitoc>
[MathML] <http://www.w3.org/TR/MathML/#contents>
[CSS3] <http://www.w3.org/Style/CSS/current-work>
[Elements] <http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/index/elements.html>
[Attributes] <http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/index/attributes.html>
[Properties] <http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/propidx.html>

Ben 'Cerbera' Millard
Collections of Interesting Data Tables
Received on Monday, 13 August 2007 09:59:33 UTC

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