Re: ISSUE-41/ACTION-97 decentralized-extensibility

On Tue, Oct 20, 2009 at 2:27 AM, Jonas Sicking <> wrote:
> On Mon, Oct 19, 2009 at 11:14 PM, Tony Ross <> wrote:
>> On Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 11:34 PM, Jonas Sicking wrote:
>>> On Sat, Oct 17, 2009 at 4:54 PM, Tony Ross <> wrote:
>>> > I agree that XML Namespaces is more complex than simply using tag names
>>> > for identity, but I'm curious as to what specifically makes you think it is too
>>> > complex for the web.
>>> I've mentioned them before in this thread. But in short:
>>> The identifying name is a tuple rather than a string (arguably this could be
>>> fixed by changing DOM/CSS, but so far such proposals have not been made).
>> I see this as an issue broader than HTML 5. Perhaps such a proposal would be a good idea for the next versions of the DOM/CSS standards. Should HTML markup support namespaces, it would certainly be able to benefit retroactively from such new APIs.
> Well, I agree that namespaces being messy in the DOM is a bigger
> problem than HTML. However HTML has so far skirted the issue by not
> using namespaces.
> I'm reluctant to add a feature that hinges on that we'll improve API
> elsewhere later, as that might never happen. I'm extra reluctant in
> this case since I don't really see how to solve it.
>>> The identifying name is different from what's being written in the markup.
>>> I.e. the user writes "foo:bar" in the markup, but the identifying name is {
>>> "somenamespaceURI", "bar" }
>> Given the same user must have put xmlns:foo="somenamespaceURI" earlier in the markup, I don't find this to be such a stretch. Web developers seem to get along fine with indirection via variables in JavaScript.
> That is not my experience. My experience is that people simply copy
> the xmlns:foo attribute to the root element not really understanding
> what it means.
>>> Copy-paste of markup becomes more fragile
>>> since it's easy to loose the prefix-mapping in the process.
>> Very true. I suspect copy-paste will fail more often for some developers, but I also suspect they will quickly notice that it didn't work as expected. A quick trip back to the original source should help rectify the problem. Even with complete ignorance of namespaces, trial and error will eventually cause them to bring in the prefix declaration. At this point they're likely to realize that the prefix declaration itself was important.

You're all making assumptions that this is 1996 and people are
primarily learning about new techniques via copy and paste. I believe
with the extensive material in many web pages now, the use of
templates and auto-generating tools, copy and paste of web page
material is probably quite rare.

How did I learn to use SVGWeb? I didn't copy and paste. I opened the
documentation, read the material, saw the examples, and then used the
library and appropriate markup. I don't think I'm the exception, I
think I'm more the rule. Everything has a tutorial now. Everything has
multiple tutorials, weblog posts, articles, etc. Back in 1996, there
wasn't much to help us, and we needed to copy and paste. But it's just
not that much of an issue now. The only time I copy and paste now, is
CSS. And that's because CSS can typically be cleanly copied. And fancy
this: I never forget the ending curly brackets.

People will copy and paste SVG into HTML, but they'll copy entire SVG
files and paste. They might copy too much, and may lose the end tag,
but I believe people won't do this until reading at least one
tutorial, which will state such things as you don't need anything
before the opening svg tag, but you do need the end svg tag.

But I believe most material will be incorporated into web pages via
tools. And we would hope the tool developers have enough sense to
double check their work. I know that the Drupal folks went to the RDFa
folks to double check there use of RDFa in Drupal 7 before freeze
date, to ensure that their included material was correct. It's also
not unusual for people to write, "I just did this and this to my site.
Did I make any mistakes?", and they'll get answers.

That's the way things are now.

I don't understand this fixation on copy and paste. This isn't the
same web. We've gone beyond that, and I think it's perfectly
acceptable to let our tools progress, without fear of old habits.

> Actually, I think it's quite probable that authors won't notice if
> they fail to author extension elements properly. Opening the page in a
> browser won't give any indication that namespace declarations are
> wrong since these elements are likely ones that the browser won't
> recognize and do anything with. I.e. these elements are essentially
> the type of hidden-metadata information that we've seen authors get
> wrong very often.
> / Jonas


Received on Tuesday, 20 October 2009 13:15:43 UTC