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RE: New split-out drafts vs. modular design

From: Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>
Date: Sat, 9 Jan 2010 17:05:44 -0800
To: "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <C68CB012D9182D408CED7B884F441D4D4B9776@nambxv01a.corp.adobe.com>
I think the discussion of a "single spec" vs "multiple specs"
is really missing the fundamental issue, which is one of
design, not of documentation.

The spec should follow the design. It may be well true that
the current design is best described in a single document.

The problem is not that HTML5 is described in a single spec,
the problem is that the WhatWG design for the Web Hypertext
Application Platform is not modular enough. Taking a monolithic
design and hacking the specification into pieces doesn't help
address the design problem, unless the split into separate
specifications is used as an opportunity to remove 
interdependencies so that each element of the design can
be read, understood, and implemented independently, and
evolved asynchronously -- on their own schedules and
development timelines, and likely in separate groups
with focused expertise.

It may well be that there are implementation considerations
that cross modularity boundaries, but those should be
exceptions, and would best be placed in an implementor's
guide, not threaded ad hoc into multiple specifications.

Removing microdata and actually addressing what the charter
encouraged would help:

"a mechanism to permit independently developed vocabularies 
such as (list) to be  mixed into HTML documents."

I can't see how "a mechanism" could possibly be interpreted
as anything other than a *single* mechanism, and not one
for each type of vocabulary. And having a clear extensibility
mechanism would allow better modularization of the design. 

The list of vocabularies given as examples in the charter
(ITS, Ruby, RDFa) are a minimum -- a good extensibility
mechanism would also address how to mix in MathML and SVG,
for example, without having to bundle their use and 
interpretation into the HTML spec.

Received on Sunday, 10 January 2010 01:06:21 UTC

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