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RE: Is HTML5 Too Big?

From: Dailey, David P. <david.dailey@sru.edu>
Date: Fri, 4 May 2007 01:18:04 -0400
Message-ID: <1835D662B263BC4E864A7CFAB2FEEB3D258BFB@msfexch01.srunet.sruad.edu>
To: "Maciej Stachowiak" <mjs@apple.com>, "HTML WG" <public-html@w3.org>

On Thu 5/3/2007 11:41 PM  Maciej Stachowiak wrote

>One question that has come up on this list is whether the HTML5 spec 
>is too big (perhaps due to including UA conformance requirements and 
>error handling, or due to excessive new features). 

Hi Maciej. 

A funny question. What does it mean for a spec to be too big? [I'm sure there is context here that I'm not remembering, but allow me a digression anyway, since I may actually get somewhere]

It reminds me of when the Austrian emporer in the movie Amadeus falls asleep in one of Mozart's openings and then wakes up to proclaim that the composition was okay, but it had too many notes.

Too big for what? RAM, disk space, the browser, the mind? Lot's of relativity here. It looks like you reported on file size. Got any good metrics on the cognitive space it subtends? How many people at time x know everything that's in it? I'll bet Anne or Dave Hyatt or Henri or somebody occasionally has to remind Hixie of where some of the details are. (I'm not betting any beans this time though, since Hixie has earned the respect of some pretty respectable folks and I may well be wrong on this).

Seriously, though, I don't think it's too big.  But I don't think measuring the filesize is going to convince anybody.

I think everybody would have to agree that it's a heck of a lot better than trying to follow public-html Mail Archives. It's shorter. It's more organized. It makes more sense. I guess it depends on what you compare it to. 

Excessive new features? Heck that's a matter of opinion. I'd like to see a few more. Others would like fewer. It's got some issues people don't agree with. Does that mean it is contentious or that the people who disagree with it are contentious? It probably doesn't mean either.

I was talking with a couple of students today. One of them says he's been trying to follow some of this discussion. (I hope it doesn't interfere with his studies -- my goodness how can anyone hope to follow this stuff? )

He suggested that maybe the way to define something is to define what it isn't. I rather liked the idea. Maybe next time we have a new HTML to build we can define a different methodology. I think that would be sort of fun. To do it right we might have to start planning now, though if we keep piling stuff on Hixie and Dave, they might not ever get out from under the backlog 'til it's time to start the next round. 

I've been thinking that next time, a different strategy would be to see if people can agree on a vision statement. What should the next HTML be? Instead of responding to a concrete proposal with existing text and existing customs, personalites and principles, maybe we could all collaboratively build a vision of where the web ought to be. I have been accused of harboring idealism from time to time, but I really do think that folks here are not that far away from one another in the grand scheme of where we all would like the web to go. Maybe I'm just older and so a little less patient.



On IRC: Dailey says: Hixie and Maciej you should hear what they're saying in the places I hang out. Does anyone remember about 1986, somebody had a program that redefined all the Mac system events? If you inserted a disk, the Mac played a sound clip saying "it's so big." It was an exciting time in computing, as I remember it. But all in all, I prefer now, frankly. The internet really has been handy, or at least the HTTP part of it -- that whole IRC thing is gonna take some work.
Received on Friday, 4 May 2007 05:17:51 UTC

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