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Re: TAG minutes 10 Sep for review (f2f planning, websockets URI scheme, HTML, ...)

From: <noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 2009 08:04:58 -0400
To: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Cc: www-tag@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF87B3699B.4896B9CF-ON85257634.00421228-85257634.004260E3@lotus.com>
Henri:  perhaps you've missed my point.  I was not quibbling with what the 
spec is >trying< to say, and indeed your clarification here is pretty much 
in line with what I would have guessed.  My suggestion was that the spec 
isn't saying it clearly enough.  If you made the words "applicable 
specifications" a hyperlink to an explanation that is (a shortened form 
of) what you provide below, I think that would be fine.  As it is, some 
readers may correctly guess what you had in mind, others may guess 
otherwise, and they may burn unnecessary energy arguing about it later. 
Thank you.


Noah Mendelsohn 
IBM Corporation
One Rogers Street
Cambridge, MA 02142

Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Sent by: www-tag-request@w3.org
09/17/2009 03:54 AM
        To:     www-tag@w3.org
        cc:     (bcc: Noah Mendelsohn/Cambridge/IBM)
        Subject:        Re: TAG minutes 10 Sep for review (f2f planning, 
websockets URI  scheme, HTML, ...)

> NM: the bit about "or other applicable specifications" is 
> potentially really cool... though it's not terribly clear. ... does 
> it mean "specs from the HTML WG"? or "from W3C"? or "from
> WHATWG?" or "Joe in his basement"? ... some responses in blogs 
> suggest the most liberal interpretation
> danc: a request for clarification of "applicable" would be 
> strengthened by inclusion of an example, such as "is spec X 
> applicable?"

"Other applicable specifications" means specifications recognized as 
applicable by someone applying the HTML5 spec to their activities.

This is already how things work with other specs:

For example, XForms 1.0 is defined by the W3C and it *could* be 
applied to extend XHTML 1.0. Yet, vendors shipping XHTML 1.0 
implementations in UAs don't support XForms (at least not by default) 
and even the W3C Validator doesn't bother to support XHTML 1.0 + 
XForms 1.0 validation. Thus, for a substantial part of the Web 
community, XForms 1.0 isn't "applicable" as far as XHTML 1.0 goes.

This shows that being published by the W3C doesn't automatically make 
a spec "applicable".

On the other hand, XHTML 1.1 is a closed set of elements and 
attributes. In particular, it doesn't contain RDFa attributes. 
However, to the community that recognizes RDFa in XHTML as legitimate, 
RDFa in XHTML is "applicable" to XHTML 1.1 and "XHTML 1.1 + RDFa 1.0" 
is ok for this community even though the RDFa attributes invalid in 
XHTML 1.1 alone.

This shows that what HTML5 makes explicit is already an implicit 
extension point in other specs.

As for "Joe in his basement", Mark Pilgrim specified feed 
autodiscovery for HTML and XHTML on his blog in a blog post. Multiple 
UA vendors implemented his spec and countless authors made content 
using this language feature. Feed autodiscovery is, therefore, 
"applicable" to the processing of HTML 4 and XHTML 1.0 as far as a 
sizable part of the Web community goes.

If you compare feed autodiscovery and XForms, it turns out that things 
specced by "Joe in his basement" can be more "applicable" than  things 
specified by the W3C. Therefore, applicability doesn't depend on who 
asserts applicability but on whether the community accepts the 

For the purposes of Validator.nu, I've used a rough guideline of 
considering a spec applicable if two browser engines out of the set of 
Gecko, WebKit, Presto and Trident make a non-trivial effort to support 
a spec. All four made an effort to support ARIA before ARIA was 
officially integrated in HTML5, so Validator.nu had an HTML5+ARIA 
validation target with ARIA as an "other applicable specification" 
before ARIA was officially part of HTML5. Gecko, WebKit and Presto 
support SVG 1.1 in application/xhtml+xml, so Validator.nu supports SVG 
1.1 as an "other applicable specification" in XHTML5. However, for the 
time being, it doesn't support SVG 1.1 in text/html. Also, it doesn't 
support SVG 1.2 Tiny, because of the four engines, only Presto 
supports SVG 1.2 Tiny. MathML 2.0 is supported as an "other applicable 
specification" in XHTML5, because Gecko and Presto support MathML 
(well, the presentational part of MathML but I was too lazy to 
specifically axe the semantic part of the off-the-shelf schema as 

Henri Sivonen
Received on Thursday, 17 September 2009 12:05:39 UTC

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