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Re: on "other applicable specifications" in the HTML 5 spec

From: Michael(tm) Smith <mike@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2010 18:22:04 +0900
To: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Cc: www-tag@w3.org, Philippe Le Hegaret <plh@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20100125092203.GA23497@sideshowbarker>
Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, 2010-01-20 13:16 -0600:

> Noah,
> Regarding your action to...
> Raise (as individual issue) question of 3 words "other applicable
> specifictions" in 3.2.1 (3.3.1) of HTML 5
> http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/group/track/actions/302
> I suggest you take a look at the is thread today...
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-html/2010Jan/thread.html#msg952
> It seems to me that this means that the HTML 5 spec doesn't set
> one standard for the community, which seems to me is job 1.

If you mean the existence of that clause in the spec means that
the spec doesn't set one core standard for the HTML language, I
can't say that I think most readers of the spec would come to that
same conclusion.

The intent of that clause, in my understanding at least, is to
allow other specs to layer themselves on top of the core HTML
spec, and in doing so, to do things like specifying more
restrictive constraints appropriate to their use cases, or to
relax particular constraints, or to define additional elements or
attributes, or to remove other elements or attributes, and so on.

If and when another spec were to do that, it would seem to me it
would be an extension of the HTML spec (or it might even be a
strict subset) -- not a conflicting spec.

I don't see how this case is any different from a spec defining
itself as an extension or subset of, say, DocBook, or TEI. And
just as such a spec could not longer rightly call itself "the
DocBook spec" or "the TEI spec" but would instead need to make
clear that it is "An extension of..." or "A subset of...", I would
expect that any public spec that extends or subsets the HTML spec
would also end up doing much the same.

So I don't think that in practice the existence of this clause
creates any risk of fragmentation in addition to any risks that
would already exist even without the existence of that clause.

FWIW, I also think Henri's comments in the thread you cite above
are an accurate description of the purpose of that clause.

> It's always hard to tell how much support any position has in
> the HTML WG until the chairs get ready to close the issue.
> Mike, Philippe, have you looked into this at all? Or is
> it far enough away that you're not looking at it closely
> yet?

 From where I sit, I'd say that the inclusion of that clause in
the spec is something that enjoys wide support in the HTML WG.

It's not clear to me from the TAG minutes, but as far as I can
tell, there seems to be support in principle among the TAG
members for inclusion of that clause, but action-32 was raised
because some members believe that clause may be overly vague -- in
that the meaning of "other applicable specifications" could be
more precisely stated.


Michael(tm) Smith
Received on Monday, 25 January 2010 09:22:13 UTC

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