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Sluggishness of the HTML5 working group efforts

From: Shelley Powers <shelleyp@burningbird.net>
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2010 13:23:29 -0500
Message-ID: <4C59B021.9080103@burningbird.net>
To: Paul Cotton <Paul.Cotton@microsoft.com>, Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, Philippe Le Hegaret <plh@w3.org>
CC: www-archive@w3.org
Recently, a question was asked of people about making the W3C the place 
for Web Standards[1]. However, also recently, activity in the HTML WG 
has virtually come to a standstill. It seems to me, how the HTML WG 
progresses from this point on has a direct bearing on whether the W3C 
can effectively manage web standards efforts in the future. If the W3C 
can't effectively manage HTML, which is the foundation for the web, how 
can it manage other web standards now, and in the future?

Consider the following:

There are currently 374 bugs filed against the HTML WG documents, most 
against the HTML5 spec. Of these, 268 bugs are over 30 days old[2].

In the last 30 days, only 4 bugs have been closed out [3], and only 28 
bugs have had some editor action[4].

There are currently 23 open issues[5]. Some issues have passed deadlines 
months ago with no resolution, and no idea when any resolution is 
forthcoming. Several have had a surveys and are awaiting co-chair 
decision. Some of the surveys were given almost three months ago, and 
again, no deadline is given when resolution can be expected. Several of 
the issues have had change proposals supplied months ago, and are still 
waiting surveys. Again, no deadlines, no idea when these items will 

Issues in the Issue list seem to be resolved on an average of about 3-4 
a month. At the same time, there is a good likelihood that when many of 
the outstanding bugs finally get addressed by editors, several could end 
up as issues. With an estimated issue resolution rate of about 3-4 a 
month (being liberal with my estimates), issues will prevent any 
progress of the HTML5 specification for a minimum of several months, 
most likely into 2011. And a 2011 estimation is only viable if the 
number of new issues is kept to a minimum.

In the meantime, several members of the group, including those who have 
outstanding tasks in the HTML WG, are now participating in another 
specification effort with the IETF[6]. This isn't a problem, except for 
the fact that the ongoing work in the IETF HYBI group could be 
potentially blocking ongoing work in the HTML WG, because at least two 
of the people (Maciej Stachowiak and Ian Hickson) are in the HTML WG's 
issue resolution critical path.

In particular, Ian Hickson is the only editor for the HTML5 
specification, and as such, if his time is being preempted by work 
elsewhere, the HTML WG should be strongly encouraged to add new editors. 
Otherwise, the current backlog of bugs may never be resolved--or will be 
resolved haphazardly, with undo haste and lack of consideration.

Yes, people do have lives outside of any of these group's efforts. No 
one denies this. But if people feel they can not meet the requirements 
demanded of them for their positions--such as HTML5 editor, or HTML WG 
co-chair--they should consider whether they can continue in the role, or 
whether it would be better to have those with more time take up the 

The W3C HTML WG cannot continue at the current pace--not if there is to 
be even the most remote chance for the HTML5 to progress this year, as 
per the group's current charter and estimated timelines. Not if the W3C 
wants to be considered _the_ place for web standards in the future.

I have submitted a bug listing my concerns about the timeliness of the 
HTML WG effort, but have not yet received a response[7].

Thank you

Shelley Powers

[1] http://www.w3.org/2002/09/wbs/1/newstd2/results
[2] http://w3.org/brief/MTkz
[3] http://w3.org/brief/MTkw
[4] http://w3.org/brief/MTkx
[5] http://dev.w3.org/html5/status/issue-status.html
[6] http://www.ietf.org/mail-archive/web/hybi/current/maillist.html
[7] http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=10230
Received on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 18:24:12 UTC

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