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Complexity of HTML5 (was Re: The Complexity Argument)

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Sat, 19 Sep 2009 18:11:07 -0700
Cc: public-html@w3.org
Message-id: <00F6CEE4-F494-4121-93AD-7E5B3760556E@apple.com>
To: Steven Rowat <steven_rowat@sunshine.net>

On Sep 19, 2009, at 5:47 PM, Steven Rowat wrote:

> I believe the disagreement about whether HTML5+RDFa/Microdata is  
> 'too complex' is bogged down because of a failure to first ask and  
> settle the question: "Too complex for who?"
> In other words who exactly is the "regular web author" that Manu  
> Sporny was talking about here:
>>> To look at this another way, one could claim that HTML5, Javascript,
>>> canvas, or SVG is too complex for regular web authors.
> To which Ian Hickson replied:
>> Yeah, they are. We've spent a huge part of the effort on HTML5  
>> trying to simplify as much as we could while still being compatible  
>> with the trillion or so deployed HTML pages.
> To understand what is are acceptable amounts and types of  
> complexity, from my perspective it seems useful to see what happens  
> if we first split "regular web authors" into:
>    a) people who produce their own content that they wish to have  
> distributed (or sold) via web pages, versus
>    b) web-page coders who code to support other people's content  
> (usually as a profession).
> After doing this, it appears to me that the complexity of HTML5,  
> relative to HTML4, is a significant new burden on the "a" group,  
> with the result that HTML5 could cause a large shift in HTML  
> authoring towards the professional coders.

The complexity that HTML5 adds over HTML4 is mainly of two kinds: (a)  
complexity that is only relevant to implementations and can be ignored  
by authors; (b) the intrinsic complexity that comes with adding  
additional capabilities (such as <video>). Authors who are satisfied  
with the feature set of HTML4 are not faced with any additional  
complexity. In fact, a great deal of existing HTML4 documents can be  
made conforming HTML5 simply by changing the doctype string.

HTML5 does not provide anything specific to enable selling of content,  
but then, neither did HTML4. E-commerce and revenue models are out of  
scope for HTML.

> I was trying to develop these ideas for discussion in bug 7546 [1]  
> and a recent TAG post [2]. Unfortunately (somewhat rashly I thought)  
> yesterday Ian changed bug 7546 to "RESOLVED" "INVALID". Two steps  
> forward, one step back. ;-) .

If you are dissatisfied, you can escalate it to an issue. But since  
issue tracker issues consume the time of the whole group, I encourage  
you to consider carefully whether there is a real problem with the  
spec and whether others in the Working Group are likely to see it the  
same way.

Personally, I think your comments in the bug show a potential  
misunderstanding of the spec. HTML5 does not in any way require  
authors to use or understand JavaScript or the DOM, if they do not  
want to. And we'll have lots of materials available for those who  
would like to understand the language  without reference to advanced  
concepts. I believe that HTML5 will be an excellent language for non- 
professional content creators.

Received on Sunday, 20 September 2009 01:11:49 UTC

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