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Please comment: Modular HTML or monolith? (esp. regarding Web Components)

From: Chaals McCathie Nevile <chaals@yandex-team.ru>
Date: Wed, 06 Apr 2016 01:11:06 +0200
To: "HTML WG (public-html@w3.org)" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <op.yfgyoswps7agh9@widsith.local>
Hi all,

TL;DR: Should we move the content of specs like Shadow DOM and Custom  
Elements into HTML, or continue with the goal of more modular  
specifications?

Working group members, please express and explain your preferences for one  
or the other of these approaches, to see whether we have rough consensus  
or need to work toward a formal Call for Consensus.

Some more background:

The plans for the HTML spec over the last year or so have all included  
some effort to make the spec more modular, rather than increasing the size  
of the spec.

The monolithic approach, with implementation requirements scattered  
through the entire spec, means that it is hard to understand how anything  
works without knowing the whole spec. In practice this has resulted in  
implementors missing some requirements and implementing something less  
interoperably than anyone wants.

Likewise, for people who are looking to use a single new feature, or  
trying to understand changes to the features they rely on, reading the  
whole spec is often far too high a burden.

The editors of HTML have expressed a preference for making it more  
modular, in particular that substantial new additions should be as far as  
possible in "stand-alone" extension specs, rather than being incorporated  
entirely into a growing HTML spec.

And doing so makes it easier to work on features independently, instead of  
trying to hold everything to a single publishing timeline.

Our current approach is therefore to work on a more modular approach for  
anything that isn't currently in the HTML spec, adding the minimum of  
necessary hooks as pointers to the relevant extension - and where  
resources are available to try and further modularise the spec we already  
have.

It has been argued that for implementers of HTML, they need to know  
everything anyway. Our continued plan for more modularity is based on the  
premise that while this may be broadly true of browser makers, it isn't  
the case for the vast majority who implement tools or applications using  
HTML. In addition the chairs have had feedback from browser makers that  
the monolithic approach isn't really helpful - as well as from others who  
say it is.

Recently people have suggested that the Web Components specs for Shadow  
DOM and Custom Elements should instead be merged into HTML and DOM,  
instead of continuing to maintain individual specifications, and the  
editors of the Web Component specs seem to look favourably at that idea.

This would be a big change in particular for HTML, and a change of  
direction for the Working Group in general. So the chairs would like more  
input from the Group as we consider how we might reconcile different  
editorial approaches that would significantly impact each other.

cheers

Chaals

-- 
Charles McCathie Nevile - web standards - CTO Office, Yandex
  chaals@yandex-team.ru - - - Find more at http://yandex.com
Received on Tuesday, 5 April 2016 23:11:43 UTC

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