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Re: Title of the HTML5 document

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Mon, 25 May 2009 10:17:18 -0400
Message-ID: <4A1AA86E.2020407@intertwingly.net>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
CC: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
- www-archive
+ public-html

Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> On May 25, 2009, at 5:54 AM, Sam Ruby wrote:
> [snip brisk disagreement over meta-issue]

I'll note that the below does not attempt to infer nefarious intent on 
the part of people that you disagree with, and therefore is much more 
suitable for productive dialog.  Kudos.

>>> (I'll note that I have no idea which contradictions you are concerned 
>>> with, perhaps you can point me to the relevant issues in the issue 
>>> tracker or bugzilla.)
>> The current draft contains content sniffing for feeds.  If accurately 
>> describes uniform browser behavior.  It reinterprets HTTP.  It is not 
>> part of a vocabulary.  It is not part of associated API.
>> If it weren't contentious, it wouldn't be an issue.  It is 
>> contentious.   One way to address it is to remove the section.  
>> Another is to label it properly.
> At first glance, it's not clear to me the detailed feed sniffing 
> algorithm needs to be in the spec. Sniffing feeds in generic XML types 
> is not described at all (presumably left to UA discretion), it's not 
> clear to me why sniffing feeds in HTML needs to be described in detail. 
> I don't think either sniffing feeds in XML or sniffing feeds in HTML is 
> essential to HTML UA interoperability. But perhaps this is better 
> discussed on public-html.
> Indeed, sniffing of feeds from both XML types and text/html is not 
> browser-specific or HTML-specific. For example, NetNewsWire will happily 
> process the W3C RSS feed and the intertwingly.net Atom feed when they 
> are served as text/html. This may indicate that sniffing is better 
> described in a separate spec that is independent of HTML.
>> Removing accurate, but incomplete, labels does not address the issue.
> I don't think replacing one accurate, but incomplete label with another 
> would address the issue either. I hope you can agree with that.

I will not only agree with that, I will go further and agree that 
removing contentious material which does not conform to the expectations 
set by the label and abstract of the HTML specification is another way 
to address the issue, presuming that the separate document is properly 

Since my beliefs were called into question, here's what I believe:

(1) I believe that (regrettably) that the sniffing of feeds needs to be 
specified somewhere.  I say regrettably as I know of nobody who feels 
that this is an ideal situation, instead it is behavior that is 
interoperability being implemented by browsers to deal with reality as 
it exists as opposed to a Platonic ideal.

(2) This sniffing is browser behavior.  There are a number of other user 
agents that don't perform this behavior.  In fact, without testing, I'm 
confident that the example you site ('NetNewsWire') doesn't implement 
this behavior.  Even if it does, I'm sure I can find countless others 
that don't.  Of course, those that don't have this behavior don't claim 
to be HTML5 compliant.  The purpose of documenting this behavior isn't 
to force change in those applications, but to provide an documented and 
interoperable alternative should the authors of those applications wish 
to implement it.

(3) At the present time, I have no position as to whether or not this 
belongs in a separate document, but do believe that

   (3a) whatever document it belongs in needs a suitable subtitle and
        abstract that covers this content.

   (3b) ensuring that the subtitle and abstract of the current HTML5
        draft matches the subsequent content will make the consensus
        review of such content go much more smoothly.

Is any of this not clear?  Do you disagree with any of it?

- Sam Ruby
Received on Monday, 25 May 2009 14:17:58 UTC

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