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Re: The Canvas 2D API split

From: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 11 Jan 2010 13:16:36 -0500
Message-ID: <4B4B6B04.1010207@w3.org>
To: Shelley Powers <shelley.just@gmail.com>
CC: HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
Hi, Shelley-

Shelley Powers wrote (on 1/10/10 10:10 AM):
> There was an original split of the Canvas 2D API[1], and an email list
> created, supposedly to maintain it[2]. The proposal was created before
> our change procedure was in place, so the item was left as a bug, and
> the issue was never cleanly resolved. It just went into some form of
> trackless limbo.
> Now, Ian has created a split[3], but there's no connection between it
> and the previous work, and nothing from the originators of the
> original split whether they're interesting in supporting one or the
> other[4].

I do find it odd that Ian split off the Canvas Context from the HTML5 
spec without discussion about the previous split-off spec, but then I'm 
sure he found it odd that I split off the Canvas API spec without a 
group decision either.

I think that ideally, it should be the group making these decisions, not 
the editors.  At the time I made the original split, there was less 
formality in doing so (in fact, I believe that introducing competing 
drafts was the process suggested by the chairs); now that more clear 
formal process is in place, such alternate specs should be decided and 
steered by the group.

> ...
> There are now two separate proposed splits, neither of which is
> tracked, or part of an issue, and neither is there seemingly any path
> forward in this group to resolve what I perceive to be a disconnect
> between the original bug, and this week's activity.
> What II'm proposing is that this bug be grandfathered into the current
> Change Proposal process, except that rather than muck about with the
> bug, we create an issue for the split. We ask Adrian Bateman, the
> originator of the original bug, and Doug Schepers and Eliot Graf if
> they concur with submitting their original document as a change
> proposal. We also submit Ian's as an alternative proposal, and we call
> for a discussion on both, as well as other proposals.
> We could potentially end up with a merged document as consensus, but
> right now, we have two documents floating around, neither of which is
> a FPWD, and neither of which has an official path associated with it.
> And I'm not terribly sure that either is a document we can live with
> -- a split of this magnitude should be discussed, and a formal
> resolution given.

I support a merging of the 2 specs.  Since there are 2 other editors, 
Ian and Eliot, and since I am busy editing other specs, I'm afraid I 
can't devote as much time as I would like to the project.

However, the Canvas 2D API is of great interest to the SVG WG, so we 
definitely intend to provide feedback.  This may come in the form of 
proposed wording or even editing, if needed.

> More importantly, we need to determine the proper home for the 2D API.
> I do not believe the HTML WG is it. I do believe that it should have
> its own working group, and had thought the effort to create the group
> was underway.

I strongly disagree with this.  Because of publication history, there 
has already been an IP commitment by all the members of the HTML WG, and 
starting a new group would require all parties to join that WG, in order 
to get the same IP commitment; this is not reasonable.

Also, I believe this would simply slow down the work on the Canvas API, 
which I suspect is not the effect you desire (and is certainly not what 
the majority of the HTML WG wishes).

Forming a new WG is not an approach that should be undertaken lightly; 
it diverts resources and attention that could be spent elsewhere. 
Please be mindful of the work you are asking others to do.  Sometimes 
forming a new group is the best answer; I don't believe that is the case 
in this instance.

On the other hand, forming a Canvas Task Force within the HTML WG could 
be a productive compromise, and would allow for more focused discussions 
within that TF.  This is a very lightweight process... it does not 
require any approval from the AC or W3M or W3C Team, and only a short 
charter; it can be set up by the Chairs of the HTML WG, if they so 
desire (I'm happy to help with that, if they wish to do so).  We already 
have a Canvas mailing list, public-canvas-api, that can be reused.

The SVG WG believes that splitting the Canvas API out is a positive step 
that will make it easier to reference, reuse, and independently evolve. 
  We are quite happy to reference the Canvas API spec no matter who 
edits it or what group produces it (assuming it meets our needs).

> Though I agree with splitting the 2D API out of the HTML document, I
> don't believe the split should be impulsive, and without review and
> careful consideration. Or that we allow this seeming disconnect
> between the past effort and this week's effort to continue.

That seems like a reasonable stance.  I am happy to join in discussions 
of a reconciliation and merger of the specs.  At the same time, let's 
not inject too much overhead into the process; there seems to be general 
agreement (Even among the editors) that a separate Canvas API spec is 
good, let's start from a position of that agreement, and progress from 

-Doug Schepers
W3C Team Contact, SVG and WebApps WGs
Received on Monday, 11 January 2010 18:16:39 UTC

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