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Re: An HTML language specification

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2008 23:16:09 +0000 (UTC)
To: John Kemp <john.kemp@nokia.com>
Cc: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, www-tag@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0811242312270.17401@hixie.dreamhostps.com>

On Mon, 24 Nov 2008, John Kemp wrote:
> > 
> > That is, having the HTML5 spec be what it is now, but having ways to 
> > filter out the parts that aren't appropriate? We could, for instance, 
> > have a set of checkboxes at the start of the document that allow the 
> > reader to say which parts they want to see -- just the vocabulary, 
> > just the scripting APIs, all the requirments that apply to non-script 
> > UAs, etc.
> Some questions, then:
> i) Is it possible for someone to take one (or more, but fewer than the 
> entire spec.) part of HTML5 and implement it cleanly while ignoring the 
> parts of the specification that aren't relevant to them?

That's possible today, so sure. (e.g. Henri's validator, James' various 
tools, html5lib, etc -- they are all implementations of subsets of the 
spec, and their authors have on several occasions in fact said that they 
prefer having the whole spec in one document and that having the spec 
split up into multiple documents, e.g. as we did for forms for a while, 
has caused their difficulties they would rather avoid.)

> ii) Related to i) is whether it is possible for the language of HTML5 to 
> be reused in a way that isn't covered in existing conformance classes?

I've tried to make the definitions of conformance classes pretty 
comprehensive, so I don't know that that's possible, but I don't see why 
if you could find a new conformance class it would be a problem.

> What happens if you decide to add a new conformance class?

We add one, I guess. What's the problem?

> If another specification were to wish to reuse HTML5 would there be a 
> way to reference only the language without a requirement to reuse any of 
> the existing conformance classes?

This is already happening, e.g. XMLHttpRequest references HTML5 in several 
places without any technical issues (though people have complained about 
process issues).

> iii) Is it possible to edit one section of the specification without 
> affecting (heavily) another section of the specification? Essentially, 
> does one section of the document provide an "API" to be used by other 
> sections of the document?

That's basically what I do now, yes.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Monday, 24 November 2008 23:17:40 UTC

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