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1.5.4 title and content

From: Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>
Date: Mon, 2 Feb 2009 16:17:52 -0800
To: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>
CC: "www-archive@w3.org" <www-archive@w3.org>
Message-ID: <8B62A039C620904E92F1233570534C9B0118C8515893@nambx04.corp.adobe.com>
ACTION-78 was kept open, with the idea that I would work with you to come up with a mutually agreeable replacement for section 1.5.4 "Relationship to Flash, Silverlight, XUL and similar proprietary languages." you prefer to work via IRC and email rather than telephone. Personally, I find IRC pretty limiting for making coherent points and being clear things are understood, so I think that leaves us with email.

I still contend that no content-deleting the section - is better than what's there now, and that writing replacement text not a good use of the group's time. Certainly this is no place for political polemics and marketing positioning. If something is going to remain, the current content contains many difficulties. I will start with the words of the section title:

 1.  "Proprietary"

A "proprietary format" by some definitions http://www.openformats.org/en1 is one in which the specification isn't publicly available (not true for any of these). Another definition http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proprietary_format includes those whose specification is publicly available but implementations prohibited (not true here either), or those for which implementation is allowed but future specifications under the control of a single organization. Even for the last definition, the contrast between these other languages and this one might consider the WhatWG decision process up until now "proprietary" (under the control of a single individual or organization.)    I think dropping the word "proprietary" does not keep anyone from engaging in a marketing campaign outside of this forum, claiming their adherence "Open standards" and "Open source" over the "proprietary" languages, but I don't think it's appropriate to engage in such a marketing campaign in the standards document.

 1.  "language": Neither Flash" nor Silverlight are languages.


As noted in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Flash   Adobe Flash is a "multimedia platform", which includes several products, e.g.,
Adobe Flash CS4 Professional: http://www.adobe.com/products/flash/
the free software Flash Player: http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/
the Adobe Flash Lite software: http://www.adobe.com/products/flashlite/?promoid=DRHWS
Adobe FLash Cast 2 mobile services: http://www.adobe.com/mobile/solutions/flashcast/?promoid=DRHWS

None of these are markup languages, and it is no more appropriate to relate this document to any of them than it is to describe the relationship with the Opera browser implementation  the iPhone implementation of Safari or the development tools for them.

There is a file format SWF, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SWF  documented in http://www.adobe.com/devnet/swf/. However, the file format is not a "language" in the same sense as HTML is a Markup Language and JavaScript is a programming language.

The closest thing to a "language" which might be compared to HTML 5 is Adobe Flex, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Flex which is
implemented by the open source Flex SDK. http://labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php/Flex:Open_Source. Flex is an XML-based markup language.  In the next release - scheduled for before HTML5 is ready, Flex "Gumbo"  (http://labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php/Gumbo:Whats_New_SDK )  includes declarative support for additional graphics primitives in a component called FXG.

A technical review of Flex and FXG support vs. HTML5 might be something one could summarize.

Similarly, Microsoft Silverlight http://www.microsoft.com/SILVERLIGHT/  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silverlight
is described variously as a programmable web browser plugin and a platform for Rich Internet Applications, but "Silverlight" is also not a "language". Silverlight does define a language, XAML, http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms752059.aspx  and one might be able to compare HTML5 to XAML. I'm still looking to see if anyone has done this analysis, but I did find a comparison of XAML with SVG:

Perhaps Mozilla XUL https://developer.mozilla.org/en/The_Joy_of_XUL is a markup language, although it's not clear to me to what extent it is "proprietary" given any of the definitions of "proprietary" listed above.

The only comparison I found so far of XUL vs. HTML5 claim that the issues are mainly non-technical and about organizational control rather than technical aspects:

 1.  "Similar"

While there are significant overlaps between what might be delivered on the web via HTML5, Flex, XAML and XUL, the workflows, delivery tools, languages, capabilities, performance and integration of these systems and their respective markup languages are different enough that it is likely misleading to cast them as "similar".

Finally, the document does not mention SVG, does mention XForms, which seems like a curious omission.

So, if the section is going to remain, I would suggest a replacement title:

"Relationship to markup languages SVG, Adobe Flex, Microsoft XAML and Mozilla XUL" with an overview brief subsections for each.

If you agree to this framework, we can start to work on the content of those sections, preferably with help or approval of implementers of those languages.

Received on Tuesday, 3 February 2009 00:18:42 UTC

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