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HTML5 review notes

From: John Kemp <john@jkemp.net>
Date: Thu, 03 Sep 2009 09:57:35 -0400
Message-ID: <4A9FCB4F.2080803@jkemp.net>
To: www-tag@w3.org
(resending to www-tag@ earlier submission to tag@ after dealing with 
email subscription problem)


I've identified the following issues in HTML5 I consider interesting. 
Although the RFC2119 language issue is not architectural in nature, I 
found it very hard to see which text in the specification was intended 
to be normative and thus worthy of closer review.

In addition, I agree with the earlier remarks from Noah and Ashok 
regarding the algorithmic specification style versus a more declarative 

1. Distributed extensibility

* RDFa in HTML specification [1]
* Microdata proposal [2]
* Relationship to other specifications is not always clear
* Media-type registration and @profile issue (HTML ISSUE-53) ([3] for
example message)

For example:

HTML 5 Section 1.6

"While this specification updates the semantics and requirements of the
vocabulary defined by XHTML Modularization 1.1 and used by XHTML 1.1, it
does not attempt to provide a replacement for the modularization scheme
defined and used by those (and other) specifications, and therefore
cannot be considered a complete replacement for them. [XHTMLMOD] [XHTML11]

Thus, authors and implementors who do not need such a modularization
scheme can consider this specification a replacement for XHTML 1.x, but
those who do need such a mechanism are encouraged to continue using the
XHTML 1.1 line of specifications."

2. Relationship between the DOM and its HTML serializations

HTML 5 Section 1.7

The "DOM5 HTML", "HTML5", and "XHTML5" representations cannot all
represent the same content. For example, namespaces cannot be
represented using "HTML5", but they are supported in "DOM5 HTML" and
"XHTML5". Similarly, documents that use the noscript feature can be
represented using "HTML5", but cannot be represented with "XHTML5" and
"DOM5 HTML". Comments that contain the string "-->" can be represented
in "DOM5 HTML" but not in "HTML5" and "XHTML5". And so forth.

* Is it not the case that we have the DOM, and the DOM can be serialized
in two ways - HTML and XHTML?
* Is it heretical to consider that the DOM specification should be
separated from the HTML5 specification entirely?

3. Lack of RFC2119 normative language

Although I understand the desire for readability, I am unconvinced that
every must in the text is actually a MUST. Is there not a mix of
normative requirements mixed with informal 'must's? Frankly, I would
like to be able to see the normative requirements more clearly stated,
either by using RFC2119 language, or in some other way that makes them
easier to see inside the sea of text.


- johnk

[1] http://html5.digitalbazaar.com/specs/rdfa.html
[2] http://dev.w3.org/html5/spec/Overview.html#microdata
[3] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2009Sep/0180.html
Received on Thursday, 3 September 2009 14:08:03 UTC

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