W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > February 2018

Re: HTML 5.x, why?

From: Léonie Watson <tink@tink.uk>
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2018 16:37:36 +0000
To: Jens Oliver Meiert <jens@meiert.com>, W3C Public HTML <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <2b40b8b5-b215-6198-a164-bc5ddbcb01dc@tink.uk>
On 20/02/2018 14:42, Jens Oliver Meiert wrote:
> Pardon a bit of a provocative approach (I’m just getting increasingly
> concerned), but what is the exact reason for the W3C, or us, to work
> on HTML 5.x?

No problem at all with asking questions. Whether there is an "exact" 
reason or not is another matter though!

One of the reasons is that the W3C membership chartered this WG to do 
it. That may change in the future, but for now it's what the W3C members 
wanted the W3C to do.

> Specifically:
> * What is the benefit of shipping versioned specifications in the
> first place, given that the opposite works better with the very *same*
> spec at the WHATWG, or CSS and other standards at a W3C level?

AFAIK all W3C specifications use versioning in some form or another 
(whether its levels like CSS or version numbers like HTML).

It seems that (however it's done), having stable versions is important 
to some audiences. Policy- makers (organisational and national) and 
educational ccurricula are two commonly cited examples.

> * What is the benefit of shipping specifications that *contradict*
> what we have at the WHATWG? (Consider only `dialog` or `menuitem`,
> HTML 5.1 remnants that really only do one thing, confuse people.)

I Think there is a misconception about the differences. Both specs agree 
on those particular elements. We removed menuitem in HTML5.2 because it 
lacked interoperability, and the dialog element remains in both specs 
because it does have interoperability.

There are differences of course, many are editorial and the reason for 
those is that each organisation writes for a different audience. Others 
are not editorial. For example the W3C spec includes information to help 
authors identify the implicit role and permitted roles of HTML elements, 
which the WHATWG spec does not.

> * And, who does at all benefit from the current approach? I fail to
> see any beneficiary—implementors seem to lose, developers lose, users
> lose, even spec writers appear to lose (I cannot imagine the group
> here to enjoy rewriting a most complex spec every other month just to
> see it outdated the month after).

The multi-stakeholder nature of the W3C is one reason everyone benefits. 
The WHATWG has considerable browser engineering capability, but it isn't 
representative of the web and all its stakeholders.

As to how the HTML editors feel, I can't speak on their behalf, but I 
will note that they've closed 57 issues since 1st January, so they're 
certainly getting work done.

> Unless I overlooked something really important, can we please put
> whatever other reasons we have for this (especially political ones!)
> behind and work together on one spec—or at least look closely at
> what’s happening?
That would be a good outcome for all of us. The thing we need to figure 
out, is how to bring the best of both organisations together (without 
the worst of each).

> In the humble hope that this would prove more useful for us all—

It most certainly would. I believe lots of good people (from both 
organisations) are trying to find a way to get us all there. There are 
some considerable differences in work mode, membership/stakeholder 
representation, and definitions of consensus across both organisations 
to be reconciled before we get there though.

>   Jens.

@LeonieWatson @tink@toot.cafe Carpe diem
Received on Tuesday, 20 February 2018 16:38:42 UTC

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