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Re: Write-up about semantics in HTML5 from A List Apart

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2009 12:50:01 +0000 (UTC)
To: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>
Cc: John Allsopp <john@westciv.com>, public-html@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0901071244470.7181@hixie.dreamhostps.com>

On Wed, 7 Jan 2009, Julian Reschke wrote:
> Ian Hickson wrote:
> > > I'd prefer extensibility also to address future problem (at least to 
> > > try that), otherwise it's really a poor kind extensibility :-)
> > 
> > We can't possibly design an extension mechanism to address use cases, 
> > requirements, and problems that we know nothing about.
> Well, I disagree.
> It works just fine in other areas.

Designing an extension mechanism for a problem you know nothing about is 
just guesswork. You're far better off just waiting til you know about the 
problem and then fixing it directly. The cost of guessing incorrectly is 
that the language ends up with seriously complicated misfeatures that one 
can never get rid of that are effectively vestigial.

> But in XML based languages you can extend the vocabulary, and this you 
> can't in HTML. At least not the way it's currently defined.

Can you name a single unilateral extension to the HTML element vocabulary 
that was a positive step forward in the development of HTML? HTML is 
almost 20 years old now, and (despite this being non-conforming) it has 
had its element name vocabulary unilaterally extended many times. If being 
able to do this was ever going to be a good thing, we'd have seen it by 
now. Have we?

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Wednesday, 7 January 2009 12:50:53 UTC

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