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

Re: declarative expressons in WF2

From: Dave Raggett <dsr@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2007 16:33:04 +0100 (BST)
To: James Graham <jg307@cam.ac.uk>
cc: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, Sebastian Schnitzenbaumer <sebastian@dreamlab.net>, public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.64.0703261608180.5401@localhost>

On Mon, 26 Mar 2007, James Graham wrote:

> Dave Raggett wrote:
>> You might say "What's wrong with event handlers?. Everyone in the 
>> HTML WG is very comfortable with writing scripts for event 
>> handlers, so what's the problem?"
>> Well we have a duty of care to the rest of the population who 
>> don't know and don't care about scripting. If we ignore that duty 
>> then the market will make a correction. HTML will be sidelined as 
>> a delivery format and won't be an editing format.
> I'm confused about who this popuulation of authors is. By 
> hypothesis they have the desire to develop a simple web 
> application, but have no knowledge of programming languages, 
> correct?

That's right.

> Ignoring the issue of whether a declarative syntax actually 
> delivers on the claimed ease of use, I don't understand how is 
> this target population of authors is supposed to develop the 
> server-side component of their web-app? They could, of course, get 
> a third party to implement that, but then why not also have that 
> third party develop the client-side? I feel like I must be missing 
> something trivial because my interpretation is that the proposal 
> is aimed at a user base that does not exist.

The authoring tool is provided by a third party and includes support 
for both client and server side resources, covering a range of use 
cases. This obviates the need for involving costly website 
developers with knowledge of HTML, CSS. JavaScript, PHP, SQL etc. 
each time a new application is needed. Many of the same use cases 
come up time and time again, and hence can be supported by the same 
authoring tool. This enables a much wider group of people to create 
web applications.

The use of declarative representations allows the authoring tool to 
recover the original context when the editor next loads the 
document. If the application is largely defined in JavaScript, the 
editor won't be able to map that back to something simpler for the 
non-techie author. Authoring tools can make use of proprietary 
solutions for recording declarative info, but this locks the author 
into that tool. Open standards for declarative representations avoid 
that lock in, creating a level playing field. A simple expression 
language for HTML forms would be an important part of this.

I have yet to hear any substantive technical barriers and the 
implementation is straightforward as I have demonstrated. I really 
don't understand the reluctance of most people on this list to 
embrace an opportunity to make HTML authoring accessible to a much 
wider range of people.

  Dave Raggett <dsr@w3.org> http://www.w3.org/People/Raggett
Received on Monday, 26 March 2007 15:33:36 UTC

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