Re: [TAG post:] "HTML 5's proposed basis in DOM/JS skews web control and monetization..."

Hi Steven,

On Sep 13, 2009, at 9:06 PM, Steven Rowat wrote:

> Greetings,
> Please forgive the cross-list reference, but I believe this short  
> essay I placed in the TAG (Technical Architecture Group) list is  
> potentially of interest for many HTML 5 WG members (and others  
> concerned with the future of HTML 5).
> "HTML 5's proposed basis in DOM/JS skews web control and  
> monetization towards corporations and away from individual authors/ 
> researchers, to the detriment of society."

I'd like to make a few points in reply to your concerns:

1) Although HTML5 is defined in terms of a DOM, it is not defined in  
terms of JavaScript. The DOM is a language-independent API and  
abstract model. Authors writing simple, script-free markup do not need  
to understand the details of the DOM.

2) Many aspects of the HTML5 spec's style are challenging for anyone  
but experts on the technology. We're expecting that additional works,  
both from the Working Group and from third parties, will present the  
material in a more accessible way. Some things we're working on  
include a markup-only authoring-only spec which uses much less  
jargon[1], and an authoring guide which takes a more how-to  
approach[2]. At least one professionally written highly approachable  
book is already in the works[3].

3) In addition, HTML5 has many features that should be greatly  
beneficial to everyday authors, expert or not. New structural tags  
like <nav> and <header> make it more clear how to build the basic  
structure of a Web page. New form controls and interactive elements,  
such as <input type="date"> amd <details>, will provide easy access to  
functionality that today take heaping big piles of JavaScript. And new  
elements for media (<video> and <audio>) and dynamic graphics  
(<canvas>) will enable everyday authors and hobbyists to easily do  
things that in HTML4.01 require plugins or even whole external  
development environments with their own programming languages. For  
these reasons and more, many Web design gurus like the general  
approach of HTML5[4]. Many authors have blogged about their  
experiences with adopting HTML5, one example is here[5].

4) Finally, a word on tone. Your post presents the HTML5 effort as a  
corporate plot to make things harder for individual authors  
deliberately, to extract monopoly profits. Casting things that way is  
unlikely to lead to constructive conversation. When you use hyperbole  
like that, people tend to stop listening to each other and get in  
defensive mode. Many volunteers have contributed their time and effort  
to HTML5, and I suspect they won't like being portrayed as corporate  
stooges. I advise you to find constructive ways to express your  
concerns. Many of us would like to do everything we can to make HTML5  
approachable to authors. Everyone from amateurs writing in a text  
editor, to professional designers, to consumers using simplified  
visual design tools, to corporations planning massive enterprise  
deployments, to citizen-journalists using ready-made blogging  
platforms. If you feel these goals are not being met, I would  
encourage you to focus on concrete problems and specific improvements  
we can make. That kind of feedback is much more likely to move things  

I encourage you to read over the materials I linked, and think about  
ways we can make the language more accessible to everyday authors.



Received on Monday, 14 September 2009 05:49:42 UTC