Re: Comments on HTML WG face to face meetings in France Oct 08 wrote:
> For what it's worth, if I were writing the HTML 5 drafts from scratch, and 
> having to satisfy only my own tastes, I would probably have tried writing 
> Michael's document first, and where possible referring to it from the 
> larger specification (I.e. the one that describes error handling).

Unfortunately, a very real problem with extending HTML is that at this 
point it is hairy that it is unclear how to extend it safely. At least 
if we hope to get browsers to implement it. And even more so if we hope 
to get browsers to implement it the same way.

I.e. we don't know how to make a "language spec" for HTML5 that allows 
browsers to implement a parser that is able to both parse the content 
that exists on the web today, and parse HTML5. If we tried we would most 
likely end up with a language that would require browsers to have 
separate parsers for existing document as for HTML5 (i'll explain below 
why we don't want that).

It has happened several times during the development of the existing 
HTML5 spec, for example around <legend> and <figure> iirc. When that has 
happened we've had to take a step back and come up with an alternative 
solution that is backwards compatible with existing parsers.

Put it another way. It is very hard to have so heavy dependencies on 
something that we know so little about how it works.

The reason we want HTML5 to b compatible with existing parsers is two-fold:

1. W3C already has an effort to create a next-generation markup
    language to build on the success of HTML, but without being held
    back by the mess that is existing parsers. This effort is being lead
    by the XHTML2 Working group. I see no reason to neither duplicate nor
    compete with that effort.

2. We want to allow a gradual migration from HTML4 to HTML5. I.e. we
    want people to be able to keep their current content, and code for
    generating dynamic content, and just make minor modifications to take
    advantage of the improvements in HTML5.

I hope that makes sense?

/ Jonas

Received on Sunday, 16 November 2008 08:00:49 UTC