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Minutes of informal TAG meeting/teleconference 15 January 2013

From: Noah Mendelsohn <nrm@arcanedomain.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2013 12:00:01 -0500
Message-ID: <50F82E11.1030702@arcanedomain.com>
To: "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>
CC: Norm Walsh <ndw@nwalsh.com>, John Kemp <john@jkemp.net>, Jonathan Rees <rees@mumble.net>, Amy van der Hiel <amy@w3.org>
The TAG held an unofficial meeting/call on the afternoon of 15 January. We 
did record minutes, which I have formatted and checked in at [1]. A 
text-only copy is provided below. Thank you to all who participated, and 
especially to former TAG members who took the time to join us.

Our next official call is scheduled for a week from today, on 24 January 
2012 at 1 PM EST.

Thank you.


[1] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/2013/01/15-minutes



       [1] http://www.w3.org/

                                - DRAFT -

              Informal TAG Teleconference of 15 January 2013

15 Jan 2013


           Norm Walsh, John Kemp, Marcos Caceres, Yehuda Katz, Alex
           Russell, Yves Lafon, Jonathan Rees, Noah Mendelsohn,
           Ashok Malhotra, Larry Masinter, Peter Linss

           Tim Berners-Lee, Anne van Kesteren, Jeni Tennison, Henry

           Noah Mendelsohn

           Norm Walsh


      * [2]Topics
          1. [3]Getting acquainted and ideas for refocusing the TAG

Getting acquainted and ideas for refocusing the TAG

    Noah: a very warm welcome to our four new TAG members. Although
    you don't officially join us until Feb, you are strongly
    encouraged to participate in all calls and other activities
    (except our rare formal votes) immediately.
    ... We'll go around giving everyone a few minutes to introduce
    themselves and give ideas about the TAG. Suggest you consider
    the questions at
    l (reads them)
    ... Let's alternate, starting with a new member. Yehuda?

       [4] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2013Jan/0026.html

    Yehuda: Actually, I'd prefer to hear some other responses

    Noah: Sure, Jonathan?

    Jonathan: I've been scribbling some ideas. I'm leaving the TAG.
    It's been interesting if not as productive as we might have
    ... I got into the TAG from the semantic web angle, though I've
    had some more hard-core experience wiht standards than that. I
    worked on the scheme standard and kicked around the computer
    biz for a while.
    ... I've been struggling to figure out how to better integrate
    the declarative/RDF perspective with the more operational
    approach that you associate with web standards. I don't know
    how successful that's been; seems like not so many people

    <wycats> I can

    Jonathan: It's been really interesting and intellectually
    challenging. We've been dealing with interesting, hard
    ... If we never published a finding on how language/versioning
    should work, for example, I think there was a good excuse. But
    I don't think the time was wasted, it's a hard problem.
    ... We flip back and forth between things that are important
    and things that are more urgent and I think it has to be seen
    as a sort of portfolio. Those are different kinds of problems
    and I don't think we should neglect either track.

    <Ashok> Jonathan, your formalism on versioning was really good
    -- I'm sorry we did not follow up on that

    Jonathan: Maybe even trying to divide the meeting time up on
    those two tracks would be a good idea.
    ... Someone has to look at the broader, architectural issues.
    Even if we can't come to concrete conclusions, we should try to
    write more and summarize discussions. Come up with useful
    products of discussions on hard problems.
    ... It seems like we ought to be able to do something about
    IRIs/IETF coordination.
    ... It's the TAG's responsibility to reach out and find the

    Noah: Generally figuring out how we can have impact is a
    problem. Alex, I think you have to go soon, let's move to you.

    Alex: The questions seem pretty deep. I think I want to see the
    TAG focus on are areas where it can be a better steward of
    existing work.
    ... There are a lot of areas where having a broad view can
    create opportunities to alleviate or illuminate tension between
    specs or layers of the platform.
    ... I think those are a good fit for the TAGs mission.
    ... Specifically, I think the TAG could do a better job of
    coming up with concrete advice for developers of JavaScript
    APIs and declarative APIs. Help uncover layering in the
    platform we're shipping.
    ... To get developers if not deep into JavaScript, then ready
    to [scribe lost thread]
    ... I'd like to do outreach to developers to come up with ideas
    about where they think there are gaps that we might help fill.
    ... I think I was saying that the TAG should be responsive to
    web developers. That seems like a good fit and we should work
    concretely to do that, through some measurable goals. We can
    use that to help prioritize our goals.

    John: I used to work for Nokia when I was on the TAG a few
    years ago. I has only one term, and I would say that one of the
    reasons I thought very hard about runnign for re-election was
    TAG effectiveness and my role in that.
    ... I work for ESPN now and some of the issues are still the
    same. I was particularly interested in security, which I still
    am. In particular, the developement of origin and cookies and
    so on. I brought these personal interests to the TAG, and I was
    encourage to work on them, and despite all the discussion we
    had, I feel like we had almost no impact on those areas.
    ... Areas where we did have success...at least during my
    tenure...are in things like commenting on the HTML5
    specification, which weren't all accepted, but some did have
    impact, and I found that a useful exercise.
    ... I think that leads me to a general sense that finding areas
    where you can work together, as the whole TAG or in groups, and
    write something that influences a community, that's a very
    specific place where the TAG has value.
    ... Finding those areas of agreement is tough, because people
    have different backgrounds and interests.
    ... I found it very useful in my day job to use TAG findings an
    WebArch as a way to influence people in my company to do things
    one way rather than another. Areas where you can explain things
    like that to ordinary developers are very important.
    ... I worry a little bit that it is becoming the case that the
    constituencies that are developing the web are becoming
    fragmented and contentious. I don't know if it's really an
    issue. I do find the stuff that the TAG has published are
    useful. Just having public conversations about technical
    matters is a really excellent thing.
    ... It would be good to maintain a sense of history about the
    web, where we've been and where we're going.
    ... Part of that involves collaborating or influencing other
    global organizations involved in the network. Persistence of
    URIs and content, things like that that go beyond the web and
    head into the social or legal space can't be ignored. The
    opportunity to have impact over those is quite different than
    making technical comments on a spec or educating we developers.

    Marcos: It's hard to capture in a sentence what we're going to
    over 2-4 years.
    ... I agree and sympathize about the different range of issues
    that the TAG could tackle: from the technical to the social.
    ... The scope is super broad. We should try to limit the scope,
    ideally try to make the TAG of real value to the developer
    communities. Particularly web developers working with
    JavaScript and so on.
    ... At the same time, I'm not losing sight of things that are
    architecturally fundamental.
    ... And not completely losing focus on communities like RDF
    that are playing significant roles in areas like government
    ... How do we know if we're successful? By having impact on the
    developer community could be measured
    ... Not restricting ourselves to publishing findings in the
    W3C, perhaps, but also writing articles that target specific
    audiences in other forums.

    <noah> Great idea. We've talked a bit about targeting other
    venues/media, but Marcos is correctly pointing out that we
    haven't thought nearly creatively enough about it.

    Marcos: Those things are useful in terms of having a presence
    online. We can have a 1:1 communication channel with developers
    could be really great.

    <wycats> noah: having some new members with direct channels to
    developers should help with that

    Marcos: Some of the new TAG members do have things that they
    want to work on. For example, updating WebArch or focusing a
    bit more on the layering between HTML/JavaScript/WebIDL and how
    these layers interact.
    ... How all these layers interact seems a bit broken in places
    and that's frustrating for developers.
    ... Expanding WebArch and avoiding mistakes that were made in
    the past. My personal opinion is that it's almost as if the TAG
    takes one view of the problem space when there are other views.
    ... It would be interesting to have that other world-view is
    expressed. Having multiple perspectives about what the web is
    would be valuable, not necessarily saying that one is right or
    ... It's not that they don't work together, they all do, but I
    don't think it's been articulated
    ... I think that WebArch helped a lot of organizations
    understand at least what one perspective of the web is.
    ... My background is that I've been doing web stuff since 1996.
    I did project managment at Opera developing their extensions
    platform. I've been involved in standards for about five or six

    Noah: Ashok, could you go next?

    Ashok: I work for Oracle; I've been on the TAG for five years.
    I've published one finding on application state.
    ... The other thing I was hoping to work on were offline apps
    and offline storage.
    ... I think what the TAG ought to be doing is update the
    architecture document particularly with regard to webaps. There
    are lots of threads there that have to be coordinated.
    ... I think that's the TAG's highest priority.

    Noah: Yehuda?

    <masinter> what I would say I'll just type in

    Yehuda: I've been a web developer long enough now to feel like
    I have a good handle on web applications development
    ... I did a lot of work on Rails in tandem with my work on
    ... Most of my work on jQuery has been improving the DOM APIs.
    More recently, ember.js is my day job, an effort to bring
    higher level abstractions to the web.
    ... I think jQuery has fullfiled the goal of being a better DOM
    API, but I think there's a lot of room to grow there.
    ... I understand why a lot of web developers are frustrated by
    the W3C.
    ... I don't agree with a lot of those arguments, but I do
    understand them.
    ... A lot of web developers don't have a good sense of the
    consensus process, but on the flip side of that, a lot of web
    developers have a lot of pain points. A lot of important use
    case collection and collecting pain points is important.
    ... My main mission is to get a sense of architecture for the
    web that is more layered. I think it's important to have a
    declarative API for the web.

    <noah> I strongly, strongly agree with what Yehuda is saying
    about the declarative/imperative boundary and what gets thrown
    under the bus too soon.

    Yehuda: But I think that it's bad that from moving documents to
    something with a little interaction interferes with a lot of
    useful abstractions like crawlers.
    ... Today, to build something nicer, you have to give up on
    good searchable, crawlable URLs and that's a problem.

    <noah> What I heard Yehuda say is: very important to have pure
    declarative for things like documents. What's really important
    is that as soon as you need a bit of interactivity, you too
    quickly move away from declarative and so declarative "gets
    thrown under the bus too soon". That's what I'm agreeing with

    <wycats> noah: you heard me correctly

    Yehuda: I think that trying to look and see what the web will
    look like in 10 years is pretty hard. But that architectural
    goal that we all share is under attack right now because the
    declarative side hasn't kept up. There should be a declarative
    part of what the web is doing, but make it so that just adding
    a little bit of interactivity or a lot of interactivity can do
    it without abandoning declarative markup.
    ... We don't end up with a nice tower of abstractions that we
    should. It's more about the high-level architecture and less
    about the specific technologies.

    Noah: Norm?

    Norm: I'm Norm Walsh. I work for MarkLogic, I was elected to
    the TAG for several terms early on. I continue to focus on
    areas of markup, XML mostly, which isn't as fashionable as it
    once was.

    I think the TAG has done a lot of good work. Some of it not as
    obviously cohesive as one might have liked. Norm: Norm: I think
    the web architecture document does a reasonable job of
    describing a mostly static web. Finding some way to articulate
    a broad set of principles for a web-applications web at the
    same architectural level would be a valuable.

    <noah> Note that Norm is a former TAG member, but was on the
    TAG for a long time, and is the only one on the call who was on
    the TAG when Web Arch was written. (I joined the last few

    Norm: Yves?

    Yves: I'm pretty sure most of you are aware of W3C processes;
    but if you're not, ask me.
    ... My background is more on protocols. Part of the http-bis
    ... I'm more interested in protocols than high-level stuff.

    <wycats> Sorry if I was cutting out. I will try to get a better
    microphone/setup for next meeting.

    Yves: I don't know exactly what the TAG should do, it depends
    on what the members of the TAG want to work on. It's hard to
    make progress on things that you don't have interested people
    to work on.
    ... I don't have a clear thought on what we'll achieve in the
    next six months.

    <masinter> and me

    <masinter> if you want my background, see:

       [5] http://larry.masinter.net/

    <masinter> If you want a quick summary: "I know where the web
    design bodies are buried"

    Noah: Peter

    Peter: I work for HP and have been on the TAG for a term. I'm
    also involved in CSS and other groups. I was involved in the
    original gecko layout engine.
    ... I agree mostly with Alex and Yehuda.

    <noah> Do you have ideas for how to connect better with WGs?

    Peter: I think the unspoken issue is that the TAG is
    disconnected from other W3C Working Groups.
    ... I want to see the TAG engage more with the working groups
    1:1, give them high-level architectural advice that they're not
    getting right now.

    Noah: Ok, my turn.
    ... I wear a dual hat. I'm the co-chair but also a member.
    Usually, I try to be very careful
    ... I've been doing software ork since the 1960s. I worked in
    the industry in princple for IBM, but also at Stanford and MIT.
    I did go to Lotus in the early 90's. That's relevant, I think,
    because shipping spreadsheet software for huge numbers of
    people is not unlike what the browser venders experience now.
    ... I worked on XML at W3C and on JavaBeans. I'm now teaching
    computer science at Tufts part time.
    ... One of my favorite comparisons is with the phone system. In
    1923, they invented the phone number system that we're still
    using approximately 100 years later. I think, painful as it is,
    I see part of the TAGs role is to help the community build a
    Web that will be viable in growing in 50 years, and maybe 100.

    <wycats> I would be shocked if URIs didn't exist in 20 years

    Noah: But I feel the tension of needing to ship software early
    and often. The challenge is, how to be careful enough to keep
    things clean for the long term, while growing the system fast,
    staying connected to the issues arising in real
    implementations, etc.
    ... I think that's a really tough balance and we have to think
    hard about it. Marcos said it's hard to capture in a sentence
    what we're doing. I don't want to rush it, but I think it's
    useful in answering questions about scope and priority. I have
    an example of such a sentence. Probably not quite right, but
    something like:

    <noah> "Ensure that the Web as architected and deployed will
    scale for global use, and over many decades."

    <wycats> we should not

    Noah: At worst it's a bit of motherhood; but statements like
    this really can help a group to decide what it's about.
    ... To a greater extent that is visible from the outside, the
    TAG is it's members. What we succeed at tends to be bounded by
    what our members are good at and willing to work hard on.
    ... We can and should draw on the rest of the community; but we
    haven't worked on security because no one's elected security

    <wycats> I doubt anyone thinks we should spend all our time
    working on JS. We should focus on doing whatever we can to
    ensure that URIs survive. Today, that means fending off the
    desire that people have to build "applications" and deploy them
    using web infrastructure.

    Noah: I also think our connection with Tim is very important.
    ... One reason is that I think Tim did something remarkable in
    the design of the web. His goal was to help the physicists at
    CERN share physics papers, but he put in abstractions that have
    scaled pretty well so far.

    <slightlyoff> what wycats said.

    <slightlyoff> (sorry, on a bus)

    <slightlyoff> to a great extent I don't see tension in shipping
    software vs. good architecture

    Noah: The W3C as a whole is a resource and a challenge and we
    can leverage Tim in that area.

    <slightlyoff> and if there is tension, it's not represtented by
    the folks in the call/room

    <slightlyoff> I hope we build something worth having, something
    that matters, and use our priviledged perch to help ensure that
    it's something that'll last...and that means having concrete
    opinions about what's working now, on a short timescale

    <wycats> fwiw: slightlyoff and I are both on TC39, which
    follows a similar model. We are both strongly in favor of this
    model, I believe.

    Noah: From my experience as chair, the TAG and the W3C tend to
    work by consensus. I'd like to continue to do that. We can
    spend some time experimenting with projects that don't have
    consensus, but ultimately we need to get the whole group behind
    what we're doing.

    <slightlyoff> TC39 does as well

    Noah: We try to figure out when the TAG is ready to speak as
    the TAG.

    <masinter> i have some things queued up to type in :)

    Noah: The last thing I'd say is that I'd like to make a lot of
    room for discussion of new things, but we'll eventually have to
    figure out whether to continue or abandon each of our existing
    project and open issues.

    <wycats> wycatd

    <wycats> wycats

    <wycats> it was me

    Yehuda: Alex and I are members of TC39 and it works in the same
    consensus process; I'm happy to hear that we'll be taking time
    to achieve consensus.

    <masinter> * more background: I think I was webmaster for the
    second commercial web site (Xerox) and of the site first web
    application (PARC map browser)

    <masinter> * My recommendations on what the TAG should do:
    l please give Recommendation few moments consideration &

       [6] http://masinter.blogspot.com/2012/12/reinventing-w3c-tag.html

    <masinter> * I think the top problems facing developers aren't
    the ones they think they have: governance & security

    <masinter> - governance:


    <masinter> - security:

       [8] http://masinter.blogspot.com/2012/12/web-standards-and-security.html

    <masinter> * My main concern: continue or wrap up Publishing &

    <masinter> * personally: still want to pursue link between
    situational semantics & security models, but don't think it's
    TAG work

    Noah: I think we should be socializing our personal interests
    even more, we need to find out what we and the community have
    consensus to be working on.

    <wycats> I see a lot of empty lines

    <wycats> is that correct?

    <noah> [9]http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/products/

       [9] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/products/

    Noah: I don't want to talk about process too much, but let me
    say a few words about them.
    ... The products link is a "public dashboard" that I try to
    keep up-to-date.

    <wycats> that sounds fine with me

    Noah: We use the W3C "tracker", especially its action system.

    <masinter> main summary: read my 're-inventing the TAG', and
    give each Recommendation 5 minutes of thought & discussion.

    Noah: That's important because that's how I keep track of who's
    doing what and when it's due.
    ... Please do read at least the section on actions in the "how
    to participate in the TAG" document
    ... In the products page: work on fragment identifiers, work on
    publishing and link, and URI documentation and discovery.
    That's basically in the space of how do I get metadata about a
    URI. Is it ok if the URI is for something that isn't sort of
    documenty. It's partly a semweb thing.

    <wycats> how much work is left to do on those?

    Noah: Those have been our top priorities and I think the first
    two at least are ones we'll want to continue driving forward.

    <wycats> clearly TAG would not create the spec

    <wycats> the WebIDL spec

    <wycats> is it in the purview of TAG to have opinions about

    Noah: I think the question I heard was: there are some issues
    around WebIDL, we wouldn't write the spec but is helping to
    resolve issues around it in scope?
    ... I don't think there's a closed-form answer because it
    depends on how you answer my earlier question.

    <wycats> there are ways in which that is true

    <wycats> that was a useful answer, thank you

    Noah: If WebIDL is doing something that violates princples,
    then it's a high priority. We can help otherwise in a best
    effort basis.

    Jonathan: If we wanted to deal more with applications, then
    WebIDL would seem like an important piece.

    <wycats> I don't mean that TAG should care about specific

    <wycats> I mean answering questions like "what is WebIDL for in
    terms of the broader web architecture"

    <noah> One example TAG question would be: what are the
    pros/cons of strongly typed interfaces both on the wire and/or
    locally in say JavaScript interfaces

    <wycats> ok awesome

    <wycats> thanks so much

    Noah: The TAG is us, you get to help us change our opinions on
    issues like that.
    ... Chair's hat on, we need to figure out how to answer
    questions like that. We may have to iterate some.
    ... Let me work on logistics a little bit. I don't want to make
    formal decisions about anything, but I would like to talk a
    little bit about the f2f.
    ... Usually we schedule f2f meetings at f2f meetings, we look
    about six months out and try to find a week when we can all be
    in the same place.

    <wycats> jQuery Foundation might be able to help with that

    <wycats> we already piggy-back Board meetings on jQueryConf

    Scribe isn't planning to record casual discussion of scheduling
    in great detail

    <wycats> Yves: sweet

    <wycats> I can make it

    <wycats> I'm 90-10

    <wycats> a plane is taking off?

    <wycats> I am in CA!

    <wycats> I can live with going to Europe with enough notice

    <wycats> fwiw: I will have to request additional funding from
    jQuery if most meetings are in Europe

    <wycats> it looks likely that I can get the funding

    Noah: I'm tempted to propose London or Edinburgh.

    <wycats> wrapping up sounds good to me

    Noah: I'll try to get that firmed up in the next two weeks.

    <masinter> would like some feedback on P&L

    Noah: Sounds like we're wrapping up.

    <masinter> would like feedback on publishing and linking, as to
    what the TAG wnats to do with it

    <masinter> ok

    <masinter> thanks, that's good feedback

    <wycats> :D

    Noah: Thank you all for joining; warm welcome to the new
    members. We're adjourned

    [End of minutes]

     Minutes formatted by David Booth's [10]scribe.perl version
     1.134 ([11]CVS log)
     $Date: 2013-01-17 16:56:58 $

      [10] http://dev.w3.org/cvsweb/~checkout~/2002/scribe/scribedoc.htm
      [11] http://dev.w3.org/cvsweb/2002/scribe/
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