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Re: Differences between the W3C and WHATWG specifications

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2010 23:40:27 +0000 (UTC)
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, Paul Cotton <Paul.Cotton@microsoft.com>, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.64.1006152205410.22659@ps20323.dreamhostps.com>
On Tue, 15 Jun 2010, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> Thanks for updating the WHATWG draft to no longer refer to W3C decisions 
> in disparaging terms. After some discussion, the Chairs would like to 
> request a few additional changes to the Status of this Document and 
> Introduction sections of the W3C draft.
> 1) This sentence, appears below the copyright notice: "The text of this 
> specification is also available in the WHATWG Web Applications 1.0 
> specification, under a license that permits reuse of the specification 
> text.". This sentence appears below the Status of this Document section: 
> "The contents of this specification are also part of a specification 
> published by the WHATWG, which is available under a license that permits 
> reuse of the specification text."
> Since there is now text in the W3C copy that is not in the WHATWG copy, 
> we think these statements are no longer fully accurate.
> We propose text along the following lines to replace both of these 
> sentences: "Portions of this specification are also part of a 
> specification published by the WHATWG, which is available under a 
> license that permits reuse of the specification text."

I changed the second paragraph to not mention the license issue and 
instead be a more accurate statement of the relationship with other works 
(as required by the pub rules -- the paragraph had gotten away from its 
original role over time), and changed the license statement to refer to 
"The bulk of" rather than "Portions".

> 2) In addition, we have some concerns about the following newly added 
> paragraph:
> "The specification published by the WHATWG is not identical to this 
> specification. The main differences are that the WHATWG version includes 
> features not included in this W3C version: some features have been 
> omitted as they are considered part of future revisions of HTML, not 
> HTML5; and other features are omitted because at the W3C they are 
> published as separate specifications. There are also some minor 
> differences. For an exact list of differences, please see the WHATWG 
> specification."
> We think this may give the wrong impression about the nature of the 
> differences between the W3C draft and the WHATWG draft. We have the 
> following concerns:
> (a) The text implies that all omitted features are either published as 
> separate features, or necessarily part of a future version of HTML. 
> While the WG has not ruled out including removed features in future 
> versions of HTML, we have not committed to doing so, either.

This working group isn't chartered to work on future versions of HTML, so 
it can't really have an opinion on that. The WHATWG is working on future 
revisions of HTML today. Therefore even if the W3C never published the new 
features, they would be part of "future revisions" of HTML. The text 
therefore seems accurate on this front.

> (b) The text implies that changes other than feature removals are minor, 
> but that is debatable. It's better not to make such a judgment.

I don't see such an implication.

> (c) The WHATWG specification is ever-changing, so we can't be sure at 
> the time of publication of a particular Working Draft that the 
> referenced list of differences will continue to be correct.

True. I've changed the build process so that the TR snapshots of the spec 
get a different paragraph that is more accurate in that context:

  <p>This version of the W3C HTML5 specification is a snapshot of part
  of the work done by these groups as of [LONGDAY] [YEAR]. Because the
  HTML specification is continuously being maintained, implementors
  and authors are strongly urged to read the latest editor's draft
  instead of this snapshot. The W3C and WHATWG editor's drafts of HTML
  differ in various ways; the reader is referred to <a
  WHATWG's editor draft</a> for a summary of the current

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Tuesday, 15 June 2010 23:40:57 UTC

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