The arbitrary 80% (Baby Steps)

On Wed, 15 Aug 2007, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
> > 
> > We have to balance the usability of the language and the ease of 
> > implementation with its expressiveness. Our goal isn't to make 
> > anything expressible in HTML, our goal is to hit the 80% mark
> 80% - again.

It has come to my attention after discussing this on IRC that this concept 
of 80% may be misunderstood.

I am not saying that we should only cater for 80% of users. I think it's 
very important to realise that -- the language should cater for 100% of 
users, regardless of their abilities. This means catering to people with 
legacy browsers, people with specialised browsers or with special tools 
(like accessibility tools) added on top of their browsers, people with 
cognitive failures, people with extremely large monitors, people who 
prefer print media, people who prefer to read tiny text, people using 
mobile devices, people with slow connections, people on connections with 
multi-second or even multi-minute latencies, etc.

EVERY USER deserves to be catered for by HTML.

HOWEVER. While every USER has to be catered for, the same is not true for 
every possible use case from the content producer side. For example, at 
the moment it is not in the scope of HTML to handle writing photo editing 
applications like Photoshop or movie editing applications like Final Cut 
Pro. While it may be possible to write such applications in HTML today if 
you are rather masochistic, it is not something that HTML makes easy, and 
it is not likely that we will make it easy in HTML5.

The reason for having limits like this is that while the users are finite, 
the possible types of content that could be written in HTML are infinite. 
The only way we could cater to every single possible type of document and 
application in HTML is to make a language so complicated that virtually 
nobody could understand how to use it.

We want to keep the language as simple as possible while still catering to 
the majority of content producers (and while catering to all users).

Note that the "80" value is arbitrary. It is just meant to symbolise the 
fact that we don't want to cater to all use cases, we only want to cater 
to the most common ones.

> I don't find 80% in any design principle.

I have added Baby Steps. Note though that the design principles are not 
and never will be a complete description of how language design works.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

Received on Wednesday, 15 August 2007 03:29:20 UTC