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Re: [whatwg] Administrivia: Update on the relationship between the WHATWG HTML living standard and the W3C HTML5 specification

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2012 20:18:32 +0000 (UTC)
To: Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
cc: www-archive@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.64.1207202009060.30734@ps20323.dreamhostps.com>

(responding on www-archive since, as mentioned in the original e-mail, the 
WHATWG list is for technical discussions, not political ones)

On Fri, 20 Jul 2012, Steve Faulkner wrote:
> I believe you have made some spurious claims, one of them being;
> "The WHATWG effort is focused on developing the
> canonical description of HTML and related technologies"
> The claim that HTML the living standard is canonical appears to imply 
> that the requirements and advice contained within HTML the living 
> standard is more correct than what is in the HTML5 specification.

What I meant was just that the highest priority in the WHATWG spec is in 
making a spec that describes what is implemented, rather than what anyone 
wishes was implemented.

> I do not consider this to be wholly that case, in particular in regards to
> author level conformance requirements and advice, where the HTML standard
> has no special claim to authority

No Web tech spec has any special claim to authority on any topic.

> it is not the domain of browser vendors to decide what is good authoring 
> practise and any authoring requirements that go beyond implementation 
> realities.


> Neither HTML5 in its current form or HTML the living standard can claim 
> to be a canonical description

...of anything. Sure. I agree. We can only intend to create the canonical 
description, as I said; we can't legitimately claim to _be_ it, that's 
something people have to judge for themselves based on the quality of the 
resulting specifications and how useful they are.

> [...] of author conformance requirements for the provision of text 
> alternatives, as there is another document in existence also published 
> by the W3C that provides normative requirements for the 
> subject: http://dev.w3.org/html5/alt-techniques/

To the extent that it contradicts the WHATWG spec, that document's 
requirements are, IMHO, largely bogus.

> The HTML standard contradicts the HTML5 specification (or vice versa) on 
> a number of author conformance requirements and advisory techniques, 
> including use of tables, use of ARIA and use of the title attribute.


> In respect to those author related requirements mentioned above the 
> HTML5 specification can currently claim to be contain a more accurate 
> set of requirements and advice, that takes into account current 
> implementation realities, thus providing author with more practical 
> advice and thus end users with a better experience.

You can claim whatever you want. It doesn't make it true. :-)

> All in all I do not agree with your claim of the HTML living standard 
> being canonical.

What I described was our goal, or intent; what we are focused on writing. 
Whether we succeed or not is for others to determine.

> It is unfortunately the case that we now have at least 2 specifications; 
> HTML5 and the living standard neither of which can claim to be canonical 
> description of HTML for stakeholders other than browser vendors.

That's been the case for some time.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Friday, 20 July 2012 20:18:55 UTC

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