W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > November 2008

Re: Splitting up the spec

From: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2008 16:22:52 -0800
Message-ID: <492B455C.6090009@sicking.cc>
To: Jim Jewett <jimjjewett@gmail.com>
CC: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@mit.edu>, Asbjørn Ulsberg <list@asbjorn.ulsberg.no>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>

Jim Jewett wrote:
> On Mon, Nov 24, 2008 at 5:21 PM, Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@mit.edu> wrote:
>> Asbjørn Ulsberg wrote:
>>>> That approach makes it impossible to actually use the "markup spec" for
>>>> even writing an authoring tool.  What exactly is the point of this "markup
>>>> spec", again?
>>> I believe there is a very valid use-case for an as pure "markup spec" as
>>> possible, and that is: Authors.
>> As people keep saying (including the ones advocating splitting things up),
>> authors should be reading authoring guides, not specifications.
> Traditionally, those who do rely on authoring guides have often produced
> sloppy vendor-specific code.  That is because the guides tell them to,
> in both prose and example.
> Making the HTML spec more complicated will make the job of authoring
> guide authors more difficult -- which isn't likely to improve the situation.

And yet people are reading these authoring guides. Despite the fact that 
the HTML4 spec is freely available and easy to find (third top hit on 
google for "html", second is wikipedia which heavily references w3c 

I believe this is because the authoring guides are easier to read than 
the HTML4 spec (but I admit I don't have data to back that up).

If we are going to write HTML5 such that it both easier to read than 
authoring guides, while specified to the level of detail needed to avoid 
browser bugs and diverging implementations, we have an extremely hard 
task ahead of us. Possibly an impossible one.

It sounds a lot more efficient to me to write a separate document that 
is geared towards authors and is easy to read, but that lack the precise 
language that the normative spec needs, and one document that is the 
normative spec.

I'd love to be proven wrong though.

/ Jonas
Received on Tuesday, 25 November 2008 00:25:54 UTC

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