Re: ECMA TC 39 / W3C HTML and WebApps WG coordination

Hi Mark,

On Sep 25, 2009, at 16:26 , Mark S. Miller wrote:
> To clarify, AFAIK, no one on the EcmaScript committee is proposing
> that WebIDL itself be moved to ECMA, but rather the WebIDL->EcmaScript
> language binding.

I understand the rationale you have to motivate this proposal, I do  
have a level of sympathy for it, and I certainly believe that we  
should do as much as possible to pool our expertise across what I  
agree is an artificial divide. Yet such a move would seem to me to  
have more drawbacks than advantages.

One is that defining WebIDL at the same time as the ES binding has the  
huge advantage of keeping it on mission. I would be concerned that  
removing the ES bindings would potentially open the door to some level  
of feature creep, or would risk opening cracks in WebIDL's intended  
adherence to reality.

Another one is the virtuous feedback loop that I believe would work  
better if the two are kept close-by. New features in ES5 should be  
reflected perhaps not only in the binding, but in the core of what  
WebIDL can do.

Additionally there is co-ordination with all the other WGs that have a  
stake in this. HTML, WebApps, SVG, DAP, and many others need not only  
to track WebIDL because it is the formalism but also the ES binding  
because we all need a concrete binding, because ES is usually the only  
one that really matters (it certainly is core to our shared vision of  
the Web) and the one that we use in building test suites. That would  
be quite a hassle for a fair number of people.

That being said I fully understand that it is conversely true for TC39  
participants, and therefore I'd like to find a solution that keeps the  
work in one place while making everyone happy (or at least, not overly  

WebIDL is defined almost entirely in email discussion, there haven't  
been calls or meetings about it in a long while, and I don't see any  
in the close future. WebApps will likely touch on it during the F2F  
but that would be short (it might in fact be non-existent given that  
it will be discussed jointly with TC39 anyway). So unless there is  
consensus in TC39 that email discussion is not good enough to move  
this forward, I believe that all we need is a list. That's why I liked  
Doug's idea of a mailing list for this very purpose.  
It would be low traffic, people who only care about WebIDL would only  
get that, discussion would be publicly archived, and everyone would be  
welcome. We can easily complement that with an IRC channel, and  
perhaps other supporting services.

I don't care a rat's arse where that list is hosted, and I suspect  
others here feel the same  so long as we don't split the work, and  
that all interested parties can help. I like W3C mailing list and  
their archiving system because they are more sanely configured than  
most, but I can live with anything else. If ECMA wishes to create the  
same list I'll happily join, or we can host it elsewhere still.

Would that not work for TC39? If not, can you detail the reasons why  
so that we can try to figure out a solution?

I guess that we could go the legalese way and start investigating the  
idea of a MoU between W3C and ECMA on this, but that would take time  
and probably be rather heavy  with little obvious technological  
advantage. I'd rather not go there.

Robin Berjon -

Received on Friday, 25 September 2009 15:16:51 UTC