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

Re: Proposition to change the prefixing policy

From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Date: Sun, 06 May 2012 15:21:38 -0700
Cc: Florian Rivoal <florianr@opera.com>, "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
Message-id: <B38353BB-0BAC-4B23-91F7-75976D470677@apple.com>
To: "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>

On May 6, 2012, at 2:52 PM, Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sun, May 6, 2012 at 11:44 PM, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com> wrote:
>> My feeling is that the points I cited below are mostly plausible reasons to delay CR, but not particularly good reasons to delay unprefixing, at least in my opinion. Once there is rough interoperability in practice, then continued persistence of prefixes is actively damaging, and the benefit of isolating experimental or proprietary properties is considerably lower. I realize that others may want to draw the tradeoffs differently. I just wanted to point out that the gap in practice between your proposed approach and mine is likely to be quite large. Consider the thought experiment of how these approaches might have applied to recent examples such as transforms, transitions, gradients, etc.
> I don't think we can actually *do* a "rough interop" thing without
> testing, though.  We'd just be going off our gut instinct, and
> whatever ad hoc testing we'd done on our own.  Might as well write
> real tests for it so everyone can agree, without having to bring
> feelings into the mix.

Gut feeling is what is used to drive unprefixed implementation of HTML elements and attributes, JS-exposed Web APIs, and DOM event names. That's largely because there is no formal policy at all for unprefixing those things. Do you believe that the gut feeling approach has been actively harmful in those cases? If so, can you give an example of the kinds of bad results you are worried about?

I'm asking in part because I feel that the vague prefixing rules that apply in other Web standards domains are a little bit too vague, but I can't think of examples of specific harm.

I understand and sympathize with your desire for an objective standard. However, in my experience, fully specified formal rules (including ones I've created myself) can have significant downsides. Formal rules can create perverse incentives and opportunities for gaming the system. Exercising subjective judgment is harder to do, but also harder to game.

> Some of your points are relevant if you're thinking about the
> difference in time between "proved interop for a feature" and "reached
> CR for a feature".  (In particulary, "UAs match each other, but not
> the spec", "groups request extra LC time for review", "addressing LC
> comments can take extra time", and potentially "not enough editing
> resources to handle an LC".)  However, I'll argue that should
> contribute, at most, about 3 months extra time to the unprefixing
> point.  At best, it'll add 1.5 months or so.  I don't think this
> difference is significant for the problems we're solving.

Can you cite an example where the time from "people start thinking about LC" to "enter CR" was 1.5 months? My impression is that the minimum is a good deal higher, but maybe you're aware of some examples that I am not.

Received on Sunday, 6 May 2012 22:23:23 UTC

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