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Re: ISSUE-59: normative-language-reference FPWD

From: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2009 10:13:40 -0800
Message-ID: <63df84f0901231013y13d0f6f6nc55b9b746b6af468@mail.gmail.com>
To: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Cc: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>

On Fri, Jan 23, 2009 at 5:32 AM, Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi> wrote:
> On Jan 23, 2009, at 13:34, Sam Ruby wrote:
>> In yesterday's call, a number of issues were raised when the topic of
>> making "HTML 5: The Markup Language" available First Public Working Draft.
> I am opposed to publishing "HTML 5: The Markup Language" as a REC track
> draft (or on an unspecific track but claiming normativity). This view also
> represents a broad enough consensus at Mozilla.
> We'd be OK with publishing it as a draft on track to become a Note that
> gives an informative view to a subset of the subject matter over which "HTML
> 5" is normative.
> The specific objections are the following:
> 1) "HTML 5" already normatively defines the HTML5 markup language. It
> doesn't make sense for the working group to compete with itself by
> publishing two normative documents about the same to thing. (Resolving this
> by removing the overlap from "HTML 5" would not be an acceptable way to
> resolve this, since that would lead us back to bad old situation where the
> "language" and the processing model are in different specs with a risk of
> things falling through the cracks.)
> 2) "HTML 5: The Markup Language" makes a schema normative. Experience with
> HTML4 shows that normative schemas freeze innovation and competition in
> validator development, because one implementation is declared normative and
> improvements on the implementation are considered wrong. For years, HTML4
> validation wasn't improved at all. Validator.nu, Validome and Relaxed have
> now improved on things but are still seen as illegitimate compared to
> DTD-based HTML4 validation. If the document is frozen at a certain snapshot
> in time (as a REC would be frozen), validators either couldn't improve or
> would have to deviate from the normative schema at the risk of being
> perceived illegitimate. A schema is code--a part of a validator
> implementation. WGs don't make particular snapshots of C++ code normative,
> either.

As Henri mentioned, this is echoes the sentiment within mozilla and
should be considered mozillas official position.

There are a few things that I think we could change to make me
consider it ok for publication:
1. Make it clear what the goal of the document is, including but not
limited to, who is the intended audience.

2. Indicate that the document is fully informative, i.e. that it does
not include any normative parts.

3. Make it clear that it's on the track to be published as a Note, not
a Recommendation (this might be clear from 2 above, not sure if there
are such a thing as wholly informative recommendations?).

Sorry if all of the above is obvious and in the works already. 1 seems
obvious given that otherwise we have no way to review the contents of
the document. 2 and 3 seems obvious given that no decision has been
made to split up the HTML spec.

Best Regards
Jonas Sicking
Received on Friday, 23 January 2009 18:14:21 UTC

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