W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > February 2012

Re: Vendor Prefixes and Generic Prefixes: who shall use which when and why?

From: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>
Date: Tue, 07 Feb 2012 10:53:57 -0500
Message-ID: <4F314915.7010505@mit.edu>
To: www-style@w3.org
On 2/7/12 8:58 AM, Christoph Pšper wrote:
>>   dbaron: The more we can unprefix, perhaps the less we have this problem.
>>   tantek: One possible proposal is to only parse other vendors' prefixes in
>>           conjunction with parsing unprefixed.
> Thatís a minimum requirement. Anything less should not even be considered for discussion.

The only way to do that is to change the unprefixing policy of this 
working group and unprefix a whole bunch of things right now.

Otherwise, you have a fairly perverse incentive for a UA vendor to ship 
a prefixed property, evangelize its use on the web, but hold up the 
standards process so that it can't be implemented unprefixed by other 
UAs.  And per your proposal that would also mean those UAs can't clone 
the prefixed version, so it doesn't solve the problem that we're dealing 
with right now.

The above is not a hypothetical issue, by the way.  It's exactly what 
happened with 2d transforms, transitions, animations, and 
-webkit-text-size-adjust.  And those are precisely the properties that 
triggered the current discussion!

>>   tantek: Request Opera and Microsoft to publish your methodology and what
>>           properties you're thinking of implementing.
> Thatís helpful to decide which specs should be pushed to CR sooner than others.

We already have _that_ information.  Robert mailed this list about it in 
November.  As far as I can tell, it had no effect.

Furthermore, moving to CR will not magically make sites use unprefixed 
versions where they currently only use a single vendor's prefixed 
version even when multiple engines implement prefixed versions of the 
property...  The only thing it would help with is the arbitrary "must 
not clone prefixed version without also implementing unprefixed" 

> Guidelines for Web authors
> ==========================
> You should not use prefixes at all!

Good luck.  Did you read the parts of the minutes that discuss what 
information is being given to web authors by both browser vendors and 
standards advocates?

> It does, but authors also are too careless when they use prefixed features. Vendors, evangelists and W3C donít have a good track record in making clear that theyíre using them at their own risks

Quite, the opposite, in fact.  They encourage authors to use them.

> Supporting prefixes from a competitor would send the worst imaginable signal here, even if itís (initially) limited to a conservatively chosen set.

It's a about a year too late for arguments like this, in my opinion.  I 
agree that all the available choices are bad; that's just life.  The 
question is which is least-bad.

>>   Florian: Some people are saying don't do this. But all the vendors need
>>            to do this.
>>   Florian: Blocking the conversation here just means don't do this in this room.
> This discussion should be blocked Ė at least Ė until the WG has ultimately decided and written down how prefixes are supposed to be used.

Given the speed at which this group moves to consensus, this is not 

Again, it's been 3 months since the last time this was raised as a clear 
"live or die" problem for non-WebKit UAs.  Nothing has happened in the 
interim.  If you're proposing that UAs need to wait another N months, N 
likely greater than 3, for this WG to decide on something, then sorry, 
that's not likely to happen.

> Itís more serious than that: many donít think about maintenance at all.


Received on Tuesday, 7 February 2012 16:27:46 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 25 March 2022 10:08:11 UTC